Background: CD5-positive (CD5+) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) shows poor prognosis and frequent central nervous system (CNS) relapses under anthracycline-containing chemotherapy. The aim of this study was to determine the prognosis and CNS relapse incidence of CD5+ DLBCL in the rituximab era. Patients and methods: We analyzed 337 patients with CD5+ DLBCL who received chemotherapy with (R-chemotherapy group; n = 184) or without (chemotherapy group; n = 153) rituximab. Results: No significant difference was found in clinical background comparisons between the two groups. In the R-chemotherapy group, 60% of the patients were older than 65 years at diagnosis. Both the complete response rate and overall survival (OS) were significantly better in the R-chemotherapy group (P = 0.0003 and P = 0.002, respectively). Multivariate analysis confirmed that chemotherapy without rituximab was associated with unfavorable OS. However, the probability of CNS relapse did not differ between the two groups (P = 0.89). The CNS relapse was strongly associated with short OS (P < 0.0001). In the R-chemotherapy group, 83% of patients who experienced CNS relapse had parenchymal disease. Conclusions: Our results indicate that rituximab improves the OS of patients with CD5+ DLBCL but does not decrease the CNS relapse rate. More effective treatments with CNS prophylaxis are needed for CD5+ DLBCL patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas