Outcomes in refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: results from the international SCHOLAR-1 study

Michael Crump, Sattva S. Neelapu, Umar Farooq, Eric Van Den Neste, John Kuruvilla, Jason Westin, Brian K. Link, Annette Hay, James R. Cerhan, Liting Zhu, Sami Boussetta, Lei Feng, Matthew J. Maurer, Lynn Navale, Jeff Wiezorek, William Y. Go and Christian Gisselbrecht

Key points

  • SCHOLAR-1 is the first patient-level analysis of outcomes of refractory DLBCL from 2 large randomized trials and 2 academic databases.

  • SCHOLAR-1 demonstrated poor outcomes in patients with refractory DLBCL, supporting a need for more effective therapies for these patients.


Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although 5-year survival rates in the first-line setting range from 60% to 70%, up to 50% of patients become refractory to or relapse after treatment. Published analyses of large-scale outcome data from patients with refractory DLBCL are limited. The international, multicohort retrospective non-Hodgkin lymphoma research (SCHOLAR-1) study retrospectively evaluated outcomes in patients with refractory DLBCL, which, for this study, was defined as progressive disease or stable disease as best response at any point during chemotherapy (>4 cycles of first-line or 2 cycles of later-line therapy) or relapsed ≤12 months of autologous stem cell transplantation. SCHOLAR-1 pooled data from 2 phase 3 clinical trials (Lymphoma Academic Research Organization-CORAL and Canadian Cancer Trials Group LY.12) and 2 observational cohorts (MD Anderson Cancer Center and University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic Lymphoma Specialized Program of Research Excellence). Response rates and overall survival were estimated from the time that salvage therapy for refractory disease was initiated. Among 861 patients, 636 were included based on refractory inclusion criteria. For patients with refractory DLBCL, the objective response rate was 26% (complete response, 7%) to the next line of therapy, and the median overall survival was 6.3 months. Twenty percent of patients were alive at 2 years. Outcomes were consistently poor across patient subgroups and study cohorts. SCHOLAR-1 is the largest patient-level pooled retrospective analysis that characterizes response rates and survival for a population of patients with refractory DLBCL.

  • Submitted March 10, 2017.
  • Accepted July 19, 2017.