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Shorter Diagnosis-to-Treatment Interval in Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma is Associated With Inferior Overall Survival in a Large, Population-Based Registry

Danielle N. Blunt, Liam Smyth, Chenthila Nagamuthu, Evgenia Gatov, Ruth Croxford, Lee Mozessohn, and Matthew C. Cheung

Background: Because of prolonged screening requirements, patient and time-dependent selection have been proposed as potential biases in clinical trials. The screening process may exclude patients with a need for emergent treatment (and a short period from diagnosis to treatment initiation [DTI]). We explored the impact of DTI on overall survival (OS) in a population-based cohort of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Patients and Methods: Using population-based administrative databases in Ontario, Canada, we identified adults aged ≥18 years with DLBCL treated with rituximab-based chemotherapy for curative intent between January 2005 and December 2015. Cox regression and multivariable analyses were presented to evaluate the impact of time from DTI on OS, controlling for relevant covariates. Results: We identified 9,441 patients with DLBCL in Ontario; median age was 66 years, 53.6% were male, median number of comorbidities (Johns Hopkins aggregated diagnosis groups) was 10 (interquartile range [IQR], 8–13), and median DTI was 37 days (IQR, 22–61). Between treatment initiation and study end, 43% of patients died (median OS, 1 year; IQR, 0.4–2.8 years). Shorter DTI was a significant predictor of mortality (P<.001). Compared with the shortest DTI period of 0–18 days, those who commenced therapy at 19–29 days (hazard ratio [HR], 0.75; 95% CI, 0.68–0.84), 30–41 days (HR, 0.70; 95% CI, 0.63–0.78), 42–57 days (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.46–0.58), and 58–180 days (HR, 0.52; 95% CI, 0.47–0.58) had improved survival. Increasing age (HR, 1.03; 95% CI, 1.03–1.04), male sex (HR, 1.23; 95% CI, 1.14–1.32), and increasing number of comorbidities (HR, 1.12; 95% CI, 1.11–1.13) were associated with inferior survival. Conclusions: Among patients with DLBCL, shorter DTI was associated with inferior OS. Therefore, DTI may represent a surrogate marker for aggressive biology. Clinical trials with lengthy screening periods are likely creating a time-dependent patient selection bias.

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Frailty in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma Receiving Curative-Intent Therapy: A Population-Based Study

Abi Vijenthira, Lee Mozessohn, Chenthila Nagamuthu, Ning Liu, Danielle Blunt, Shabbir Alibhai, Anca Prica, and Matthew C. Cheung

Background: The objectives of this study were to determine whether frailty is associated with survival in a population-based sample of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and to describe the healthcare utilization patterns of frail versus nonfrail patients during treatment. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using population-based data in Ontario, Canada. Patients aged ≥66 years diagnosed between 2006 and 2017 with DLBCL or transformed follicular lymphoma who received first-line curative-intent chemoimmunotherapy were included. Frailty was defined using a modified version of a generalizable frailty index developed for use with Ontario administrative data. Cox regression was performed to examine the association between frailty and 1-year mortality. Results: A total of 5,527 patients were included (median age, 75 years [interquartile range, 70–80 years]; 48% female), of whom 2,699 (49%) were classified as frail. Within 1 year of first-line treatment, 32% (n=868) of frail patients had died compared with 20% (n=553) of nonfrail patients (unadjusted hazard ratio, 1.8; 95% CI, 1.6–2.0; P<.0001). Frail patients had higher healthcare utilization during treatment, with most hospitalizations related to infection and/or lymphoma. In multivariable modeling controlling for age, inpatient diagnosis, number of chemoimmunotherapy cycles received, comorbidity burden, and healthcare utilization, frailty remained independently associated with 1-year mortality (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.3–1.7; P<.0001). Conclusions: In a population-based sample of older adult patients with DLBCL receiving front-line curative-intent therapy, half were classified as frail, and their adjusted relative rate of death in the first year after starting treatment was 50% higher than that of nonfrail patients. Frailty seems to be associated with poor treatment tolerance and a higher likelihood of requiring acute hospital-based care.