Richter Syndrome, an aggressive lymphoma occurring in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), has a generally poor prognosis and anthracycline-based chemoimmunotherapy regimens designed to treat de novo diffuse large B-cell lymphoma achieve modest clinical benefit. R-EPOCH (rituximab, etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin) has demonstrated greater activity against aggressive B-cell histologies but has not been studied in Richter Syndrome. We conducted a retrospective cohort study of 46 Richter Syndrome patients treated with first-line R-EPOCH at our institution between 1 January 2006 and 31 May 2014. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 3·5 months [95% confidence interval (CI): 2·0–7·6] and median overall survival (OS) was 5·9 months (95% CI: 3·2–10·3). Toxicity was high and 30% of patients died without progression or response. Patients with a complex CLL karyotype had significantly shorter PFS and OS (P = 0·005 and P = 0·002, respectively). Multivariable analysis identified complex CLL karyotype as the most significant predictor of decreased survival [Hazard ratio (HR) 2·72, 95% CI: 1·14–6·52, P = 0·025], adjusting for number of prior CLL treatments (P = 0·036). Richter Syndrome patients with complex CLL karyotype experience poor survival with R-EPOCH treatment and novel approaches are needed for these patients. In contrast, survival of patients without a complex CLL karyotype was similar to patients with de novo diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
- chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)
- Richter syndrome
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