(HealthDay News) — Overall survival among older adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has improved over time, but five-year survival is less than 40 percent, according to a study published online June 12 in Leukemia & Lymphoma.

Jaime Shaw, from Amgen Inc. in Thousand Oaks, California, and colleagues describe temporal trends in treatment among patients ≥66 years old diagnosed with DLBCL. A total of 18,058 DLBCL patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-linked Medicare database were included and had been diagnosed between 2001 and 2013.

The researchers found that rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone (R-CHOP) was the most common frontline therapy among the 65 percent of patients receiving treatment after diagnosis; R-CHOP use increased from 51 percent in 2001 to 2003 to 69 percent in 2010 to 2014. In these Medicare patients, autologous and allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation was uncommon. There was an improved survival rate over time, concurrent with the increase in rituximab over time; effectiveness was not assessed in this study. In more recent years, overall survival estimates indicated steady improvement in survival probabilities, although five-year survival was less than 40 percent.

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“These data provide insight into current treatment strategies of DLBCL and changes that have occurred over time,” the authors write. “To improve outcomes for older adult DLBCL patients, more effective and tolerable therapeutic options are needed.”

The study was funded by Amgen.

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