Characteristics of primary splenic diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and role of splenectomy in improving survival

Osnat Bairey*, Lev Shvidel, Chava Perry, Eldad J. Dann, Rosa Ruchlemer, Tamar Tadmor, Neta Goldschmidt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Primary splenic diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (PS-DLBCL), an uncommon type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, has been investigated only in small patient series before the rituximab era. The therapeutic role of splenectomy in addition to immunochemotherapy is unknown. METHODS: The databases of 7 medical centers in Israel were searched for patients diagnosed with PS-DLBCL in 1982-2013, and clinical, treatment, and outcome data were collected for 87 patients. The mean patient age was 59.6 years; 57.5% were male. RESULTS: Patients presented with abdominal pain (81%), B symptoms (59%), splenomegaly (84%), splenic masses (97%), and high lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) levels (84%); 61% had stage I or II disease. The diagnosis was made with core-needle biopsy in 46 patients and with diagnostic splenectomy in 39 patients. Eighty patients (92%) were treated with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone; 68 (78%) received rituximab. A complete response was achieved in 67 patients (77%), and a partial response was achieved in 8 (9%). At 5 years, the overall survival (OS) rate was 77%, and the progression-free survival (PFS) rate was 67%. When patients were stratified by splenectomy at diagnosis, the OS rates were 91% for splenectomized patients and 68% for nonsplenectomized patients (P = .08), and the PFS rates were 85% and 55%, respectively (P = .02). The respective values for the subgroup with early-stage disease were 96% and 63% for OS (P = .009) and 90% and 51% for PFS (P = .01). In a multivariate analysis, a low Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status and splenectomy independently predicted better PFS (P < .03). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with PS-DLBCL usually present with abdominal pain, high LDH levels, and a splenic mass. This study shows for the first time that splenectomy at diagnosis improves survival, specifically in patients with early-stage disease. Cancer 2015;121:2909-2916.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2909-2916
Number of pages8
Issue number17
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2015


  • diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • progression-free survival
  • splenectomy
  • splenic lymphoma


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