Management of mantle cell lymphoma in the elderly patient
Jeanette K Doorduijn,1 Hanneke C Kluin-Nelemans2
1Department of Hematology, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands; 2Department of Hematology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Abstract: Mantle cell lymphoma is a relatively rare B-cell lymphoma with a specific genetic lesion and a typical immunophenotypic profile. The median age is 65 years. There is no curative treatment, except allogeneic stem cell transplantation for a selected group of patients. For the majority of patients, especially the elderly, the aim of therapy should therefore be a long progression-free survival. Age and comorbidity may hamper the use of the most active treatment regimen, such as high dose cytarabine and autologous stem cell transplantation. Therefore, it is a challenge to select the most appropriate therapy for an elderly patient. Studies specifically designed for elderly patients are rare. A recently performed large randomized study for elderly patients, however, has shown that R-CHOP (rituximab with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) chemotherapy followed by maintenance rituximab can result in a long progression-free survival. For patients too frail for R-CHOP chemotherapy, a treatment should be offered that benefits the patient in reducing the symptoms of the disease without causing too many side effects. Progression or relapse will occur in all patients sooner or later. Second-line treatment should again be carefully selected. Several options are mentioned. New drugs are being developed, and new combinations are investigated. Further improvement in the outcome of patients with mantle cell lymphoma is expected. Participation in well-designed clinical trials, also by elderly patients, is important to find the real benefit that can be achieved, and to get information on the tolerability of these treatments in this age group.
Keywords: treatment, chemotherapy, malignant lymphoma, mantle cell lymphoma, elderly, MCL
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