Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in patients 80 years of age or older

O. Bairey*, O. Benjamini, D. Blickstein, A. Elis, R. Ruchlemer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Very elderly patients (≥80 years old) with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) frequently have co-morbid conditions and are generally excluded from clinical trials or even from treatment. The optimal treatment of these patients is unknown. Patients and methods: We reviewe d the records of 109 patients ≥80 years at diagnosis of NHL (65 F/44 M; median age: 84 years, range; 80-95). Results: Seventy-eight patients (72%) had aggressive NHL, 25 (23%) had indolent and NHL, eight had unclassified disease. Advanced-stage disease was noted in 54%. Forty patients (39%) had a poor ECOG performance status (PS), and 52 (49%) had an intermediate or high risk International Prognostic Index (IPI). Seventy-nine patients (72%) were treated with chemotherapy and 37 (34%) with radiotherapy. Initial chemotherapy consisted of chlorambucil in 15, oral etoposide in 2, and combination protocol in 62. Only 16% of patients received full-dose therapy, and only 50% completed ≥6 cycles of combination chemotherapy. The overall response rate for the 69 evaluable patients was 84% (complete 56.5%, partial 27.5%). Overall 5-year survival for the whole group was 39%, and median survival time was 26 months. Conclusion: A high response rate can be achieved in very elderly NHL patients despite aggressive histology, poor prognostic features, and reduced doses of chemotherapy. Age alone should not be a contraindication to treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)928-934
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Combination chemotherapy
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Radiotherapy
  • Survival
  • Very elderly patients


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