Nine-Year Follow-up of Patients with Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma after Nonmyeloablative Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant and Autologous Transplant


To compare outcomes between patients with relapsed follicular lymphoma who received a nonmyeloablative allogeneic stem cell transplant (alloSCT) and those who received an autologous transplant (autoSCT).

Patients and Methods:

We evaluated 194 patients with follicular lymphoma who received an alloSCT (n = 98) or autoSCT (n = 96) at MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX). The transplant type used was based on donor availability and by Medicare reimbursement guidelines. Patients who received an alloSCT were enrolled in four consecutive trials in which they received fludarabine, cyclophosphamide (or bendamustine), and rituximab conditioning. autoSCT patients received R-BEAM (rituximab, carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan).


The median follow-up of survivors was 108 months for the alloSCT group and 102 months for the autoSCT group. Overall survival was significantly better for patients who received an alloSCT compared with those who received an autoSCT (62% vs. 46%; P = 0.048). Similarly, progression-free survival rates were 52% in patients who received an alloSCT and 31% in those who received an autoSCT (P < 0.001), and the 8-year relapse rates were 11% and 43%, respectively (P < 0.0001). Only three patients in the alloSCT group relapsed beyond 3.5 years. In the alloSCT group, the rates for grade 2 to 4 acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), grade 3 to 4 acute GVHD, and extensive chronic GVHD were 22%, 9%, and 38%, respectively. In the autoSCT group, the 8-year incidence of secondary myelodysplasia was 11%. Nonrelapse mortality was similar between the two groups (15% vs. 11% at 8 years; P = 0.27).


This study shows that alloSCT is curative and confers superior survival compared with autoSCT in patients with follicular lymphoma.