This study was designed to assess the efficacy and safety of an infusional DA-EPOCH (dose-adjusted etoposide/vincristine/doxorubicin/bolus cyclophosphamide/prednisone) and rituximab (DA-EPOCH-R) regimen for patients with poor prognosis diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Thirty-three patients, aged 21–76 years, with an age-adjusted International Prognostic Index (IPI) of 2 or 3, were enrolled, and 31/33 patients were evaluable for response. Consolidative radiation therapy was given to eight patients with bulky (≥10 cm) disease at presentation. Overall, 26 patients (83·8%) achieved a complete remission (CR), four patients (12·9%) achieved a partial remission, and one patient (3·2%) died during induction. Two patients relapsed (7·6%) within 15 months. Grade 3–4 neutropenia developed in 52% of cycles and neutropenic fever in 14% of cycles (51% of patients). The estimates for event-free survival (EFS) and overall survival at 2 years were 68% and 75% respectively. The only factor related to poor EFS was the presence of three age-adjusted IPI-risk factors. We conclude that DA-EPOCH-R has clinically significant activity with a favourable toxicity profile for poor-prognostic DLBCL patients. The administration of DA-EPOCH-R as an outpatient regimen by using a single portable infusion pump may be a feasible alternative to improve the compliance and to reduce the total cost of this very effective regimen.