Increasing tissue requirements in lymphoma trials may exclude patients with high-risk disease or worse prognosis

Sanjal H. Desai, Raphael Mwangi, Wern Lynn Ng, Rebecca L. King, Matthew J. Maurer, James R. Cerhan, Andrew L. Feldman, Umar Farooq, Eric Mou, Thomas M. Habermann, Carrie A. Thompson, Yucai Wang, Thomas E. Witzig, Grzegorz S. Nowakowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An enhanced understanding of the molecular heterogeneity of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) has opened the door to clinical trials evaluating novel agents with subtype-specific activity. It is an emerging question whether core needle biopsies (CNB) can adequately meet the increasing tissue requirements of these clinical trials. This can potentially lead to selective enrollment of patients who can undergo excisional biopsy (EB). It is also important to know whether patients who can undergo extensive diagnostic work up differ in their disease characteristics and outcomes from those who cannot. In this observational study, we describe the characteristics, outcomes, and adequacy of diagnostic tissue in patients with newly diagnosed DLBCL and primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma who underwent EB vs CNB. Of the 1061 patients, 532 (49.8%) underwent EB and 529 (50.1%) underwent CNB. A significantly higher proportion of patients with CNB had advanced stage disease, an international prognostic index of ≥3, and inadequate tissue for molecular analyses. Patients with CNB had significantly worse 5-year event-free survival (67.6% vs 56.9%; hazard ratio [HR], 0.76; confidence interval [CI]95, 0.6-0.9, P < .001) and 5-year overall survival (76.4% vs 69.2%; HR, 0.8; CI95, 0.6-0.9, P < .001). Thus, patients who underwent CNB have poor-risk features and inferior outcomes on frontline chemoimmunotherapy, are more likely to have inadequate tissue for molecular analyses, and might not meet the tissue requirements of biomarker-driven clinical trials. Thus, the increasing tissue requirements of biomarker-driven clinical trials may result in the exclusion of patients with high-risk DLBCL who need novel agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6180-6186
Number of pages7
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 27 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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