Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

First Advisor

Stuart Seropian


Clinical trials investigating autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) have historically excluded elderly patients due to the risk of treatment-related morbidity related to the administration of high dose chemotherapy. While the availability of this procedure continues to expand, the elderly still represent a population for which the role of ASCT needs to be fully defined. 201 patients who underwent autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) for Non Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) at a single institution following BEAM conditioning between January 1, 2000 and December 31, 2007 were retrospectively identified from the Yale University School of Medicine Bone Marrow Transplant Database. 67 patients were older than 60 years at the time of transplantation (median age 65, range 60 75) and were compared to a matched group of 134 patients transplanted during the same time period. These groups were extremely well-matched for all demographics such as gender, NHL histology, performance status, and comorbidities. Most patients had advanced stage disease at diagnosis and were transplanted at first or second remission. Diffuse large B-cell and mantle cell lymphoma were the most common subtypes but other subtypes were represented. The elderly group experienced significantly more serious toxicities within the first 100 days (63%) when compared to the control group (42%). However, there were no statistical differences (p<0.0001) between the groups regarding specific organ system toxicities. The 1-year non-relapse mortality (3%) was not significantly different when compared to the younger cohort (1%). At a median follow-up of 31 months the median overall survival is 85 months in the elderly group and at a median follow up of 33 months in the younger group the median overall survival has not yet been reached. The overall survival at 3 years is 74% and 75% respectively (p=0.91). The disease-free survival at 3 years is 48% in the elderly group compared to 58% in the control group (p=0.66). By univariate analysis, age >60 years (RR 3.1, 95% CI 1.7 5.7, p=0.004) was the only factor predictive of developing a serious toxicity from ASCT within the first 100 days. HCT-CI score (RR 2, 95% CI 1 4, p=0.043) was the only factor associated with significantly worse overall survival. Autologous stem cell transplantation can be safely performed in selected patients older than 60 years with chemosensitive NHL. Although elderly patients appear more likely to develop acute toxicities, the outcomes are similar to that of younger patients with respect to non-relapse mortality, disease-free survival, and overall survival.


This is an Open Access Thesis.