Diffuse large B cell lymphoma characteristics and outcomes during the COVID-19 pandemic in two tertiary centers - an Israeli/ Italian study

Odil Giladi*, Gianmarco Bagnato, Marianna Gentilini, Shai Shimony, Oren Pasvolsky, Tamar Berger, Gilad Itchaki, Pia Raanani, Ginerva Lolli, Vittorio Stefoni, Alessandro Broccoli, Lisa Argnani, Pier Luigi Zinzani, Ronit Gurion

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic posed a major challenge in cancer care worldwide which might have an impact on the management of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We conducted a retrospective study comparing characteristics, management, and outcomes of DLBCL patients diagnosed during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic (1/3/2020–28/2/2021) to those diagnosed in the previous year (1/3/2019–28/2/2020) in two tertiary centers in Italy and Israel. 182 patients were diagnosed with DLBCL during the study period. More patients were diagnosed during the pandemic compared to the year before: 60 vs. 29 and 54 vs. 39 in Italy and in Israel, respectively. Trends towards older age and higher transformation rates were shown during the pandemic. The interval between the initiation of symptoms and diagnosis was longer during the pandemic. Five and four patients were diagnosed with COVID-19 during treatment in Italy and in Israel, respectively. there was no difference in dose density and intensity of treatment, before and during the pandemic. The median follow-up during and before the pandemic was 15.2 and 25.5 months, respectively. Progression-free survival (PFS) was slightly shorter during the pandemic compared to the year before (64.9% vs. 70.6%; p = 0.0499). In multivariate analysis, older age and transformed disease were independently related to PFS, while diagnosis of DLBCL during the pandemic was not. Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19 pandemic, the management of DLBCL patients remained unchanged including dose density and intensity. Nevertheless, a shorter PFS during the outbreak might be attributed to differences in patients’ characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnnals of Hematology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Cancer care
  • DLBCL (diffuse large B cell Lymphoma)
  • First line treatment

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