Purpose: To assess the clinical outcome and the influence of biomarkers associated with apoptosis inhibition (Bcl-2), tumor proliferation (MIB-1), and cellular differentiation on the outcome with dose-adjusted (DA) EPOCH (etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and doxorubicin) plus rituximab (R) infusional therapy in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) with analysis of germinal center B-cell (GCB) and post-GCB subtypes by immunohistochemistry. Patients and Methods: Phase II study of 72 patients with untreated de novo DLBCL who were at least 18 years of age and stage II or higher. Radiation consolidation was not permitted. Results: Patients had a median age of 50 years (range, 19 to 85) and 40% had a high-intermediate or high International Prognostic Index (IPI). At 5 years, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were 79% and 80%, respectively, with a median potential follow-up of 54 months. PFS was 91%, 90%, 67%, and 47%, and OS was 100%, 90%, 74%, and 37%, for 0 to 1, 2, 3, and 4 to 5 IPI factors, respectively, at 5 years. The Bcl-2 and MIB-1 biomarkers were not associated with PFS or OS. Based on DA-EPOCH historical controls, rituximab only benefited Bcl-2 positive tumors. Bcl-6 expression was associated with higher PFS whereas GCB exhibited a marginally significant higher PFS compared with post-GCB DLBCL. Conclusion: DA-EPOCH-R outcome was not affected by tumor proliferation and rituximab appeared to overcome the adverse effect of Bcl-2. Bcl-6 may identify a biologic program associated with a superior outcome. Overall, DA-EPOCH-R shows promising outcome in low and intermediate IPI groups. A molecular model of treatment outcome with rituximab and chemotherapy is presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research