Relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not suitable for high dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) has a dismal prognosis and no standard therapy. We designed an Italian multicenter retrospective study aimed at evaluating the safety and efficacy of rituximab plus bendamustine (R-B) as salvage treatment in patients not eligible for ASCT because of age and/or comorbidity or in patients with post-ASCT recurrence. Fifty-five patients with a median age of 76 years were included. The overall response rate was 50%, including 28% complete remission and 22% partial remission. The median overall survival (OS) was 10.8 months. The median progression free survival (PFS) was 8.8 months. Eleven patients are still alive and in complete remission at last follow-up (12-71 months). Toxicity was moderate, mainly grades 1 and 2. R-B showed promising efficacy results with an acceptable toxicity profile and should be further investigated, possibly in combination with novel drugs.
- Journal Article