Though much of the lymphoma research presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in December 2014 focused on the growing number of novel therapies for this disease, a subset of presentations focused on the impact of non-pharmaceutical treatment issues such as patient quality of life, maintenance scans, and the presence or absence of various risk factors. These studies, a selection of which are summarized below, demonstrate that research beyond pharmaceutical trials is a crucial component of continuing to improve survival rates in lymphoma.
HIV infection often increases the risk of developing lymphoma, however many centers do not offer autologous stem-cell transplant (ASCT) to patients with HIV-related lymphomas due to their historically poor survival rates and the risk of infection. However, the success of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV positive patients has improved the prognosis for this subgroup and may mean they can receive treatment identical to uninfected lymphoma patients. Researchers compared the outcomes of a group of 40 HIV-positive patients who underwent ASCT to treat lymphoma with 151 HIV-negative patients who received the same treatment. One year post-transplant, overall survival for the HIV-positive group was estimated at 86.6 percent with progression-free survival at 82.3 percent, outcomes which were comparable to the HIV-negative cohort.
The researchers, including former LRF Scientific Advisory Board member Richard Ambinder, MD, PhD of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, said their results showed that HIV infection should not be a bar to receiving transplant for lymphoma and that the standard of care for these patients should expand to include ASCT. The abstract for this presentation is available here.