Background: A graft-versus-lymphoma effect against diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is inferred by sustained relapse-free survival after allogeneic stem-cell transplantation; however, there are limited data on a direct graft-versus-lymphoma effect against DLBCL following immunotherapeutic intervention by either withdrawal of immunosuppression or donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI). Materials and methods: An analysis was carried out to determine whether a direct graft-versus-lymphoma effect exists against DLBCL. The analysis was restricted to patients with DLBCL, who were either not in complete remission at day +100 after allogeneic stem-cell transplantation or subsequently relapsed beyond this time point. Results: Fifteen patients were identified as either not in complete remission (n = 13) at their day +100 evaluation or subsequently relapsed (n = 2) and were assessed for subsequent responses after withdrawal of immunosuppression or DLI. Eleven patients were treated with either withdrawal of immunosuppression (n = 10) or a DLI (n = 1) alone; four patients received chemotherapy with DLI to reduce tumor bulk. Nine (60%) patients subsequently responded (complete = 8, partial = 1). Six responses occurred after withdrawal of immunosuppression alone. Six patients are alive (range 42-83+ months) in complete remission without further treatment. Conclusion: The demonstration of sustained complete remission following immunotherapeutic intervention provides direct evidence of a graft-versus-lymphoma effect against DLBCL.
- Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
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