The incidence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) has increased dramatically especially in persons over 60 years of age. We reviewed our experience in patients with NHL who were 70 years of age or older and seen between 1992 and 1998 in an effort to find any unique risk factors in this age group. There were 64 patients. Twenty-five had indolent disease and 38 had aggressive disease. The majority of patients with indolent lymphoma presented with nodal disease and were more likely to have bone marrow involvement. In contrast, 71% of patients with aggressive lymphoma presented with extra-nodal disease. Five of seven (71%) patients with indolent and 22 of 29 (76%) with aggressive NHL who received an Adriamycin containing regimen as first line therapy achieved a complete response. The International Prognostic Index (IPI) was a strong predictor of both survival (P<001) and response (P=007) for the group as a whole. The IPI accurately predicted the survival of patients with aggressive NHL (P=026). This was not the case with indolent lymphomas. This study suggests that elderly patients with NHL are more likely to have aggressive disease, a diffuse pathology and an extra-nodal presentation.
- Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma