Outcomes of hematopoietic cell transplantation for transformed follicular lymphoma

Abstract

This study characterized the outcomes of patients who underwent hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) for transformed follicular lymphoma (tFL), and clarified the association of low-dose anti-thymocyte globulin use with outcomes after allogeneic HCT. The retrospective study cohort included 74 consecutive patients who underwent autologous (n = 23) or allogeneic (n = 51) HCT at our center from 2000 to 2017. Compared with the allogeneic HCT group, the autologous HCT group underwent fewer systemic regimens before HCT (median 2 vs. 5, p < 0.001) and were more likely to have chemosensitive disease at HCT (100% vs. 82%, p = 0.05), while age, sex and HCT-specific comorbidity index were similar between the two groups. With a median follow-up of 5.8 years among survivors, the 5-year probability of progression-free survival was 64% after autologous HCT and 55% after allogeneic HCT (p = 0.21). The 5-year cumulative incidence of non-relapse mortality was 0% after autologous HCT and 9.5% after allogeneic HCT (p = 0.062). The 5-year cumulative incidence of disease progression was similar between autologous and allogeneic HCT (36% vs. 36%, respectively, p = 0.88). In the allogeneic HCT group, the use of low-dose anti-thymocyte globulin was associated with a lower incidence of severe acute GVHD but not with an increased risk of mortality or disease progression. More than half of patients with early phase chemosensitive tFL and approximately half of those with advanced-phase tFL achieved long-term progression-free survival with autologous and allogeneic HCT, respectively. Disease progression was the major cause of treatment failure after both types of HCT. Further strategies are needed to reduce the risk of disease progression.