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Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma in the Elderly: A Review of Potential Difficulties
Sarkozy C, Coiffier B
Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Apr 1;19(7):1660-9
Half of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) are more than 65 years old. These elderly patients frequently have other diseases, some of them severe, which may alter their ability to receive standard curative therapy. However, these associated diseases are heterogeneous and only a few contraindicate chemotherapy treatments. We reviewed all potential difficulties, such as the evaluation of comorbidities, the heterogeneous functional status of this population, and the consequences of the aging process that might be associated with treating these patients, and now propose solutions. As standard rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP) chemotherapy may cure the majority of patients, it must always be the first proposed option. With this approach, elderly patients with DLBCL treated with a curative intent can reach a complete remission and have a similar outcome as younger patients. Reduced dose intensity must be applied for very elderly patients or those unfit for full-dose anthracycline. The critical question for a physician is why these patients cannot be treated with the standard regimen, namely R-CHOP.