• non-Hodgkin lymphoma;
  • elderly;
  • geriatric syndromes;
  • functional status;
  • co-morbidities


Data on outcome, prognostic factors, and treatment for very elderly non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) is sparse. We conducted a multicentre retrospective analysis of NHL patients ≥80 years (at diagnosis) treated between 1999 and 2009. Detailed characteristics were obtained including geriatric syndromes, activities of daily living (ADLs), and co-morbidities using the Cumulative Illness Rating Scale-Geriatrics (CIRS-G). We identified 303 patients: 170 aggressive NHL (84% B cell/16% T cell) and 133 indolent NHL (82% B cell/18% T cell). Median age was 84 years (80–95). A geriatric syndrome was present in 26% of patients, 18% had ≥1 grade 4 CIRS-G, and 14% had loss of ADLs. At 49-month median follow-up, 4-year progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for aggressive NHLs were 31% and 44% respectively (stage I/II: PFS 53% and OS 66%; stage III/IV: PFS 20% and OS 32%; P < 0·0001 and 0·0002, respectively). Four-year PFS and OS for indolent NHL were 44% and 66% respectively, regardless of stage. Multivariate regression analysis identified two key factors that predicted inferior PFS and OS for both NHL groups: lack of CR and loss of ADLs. Prospective studies for very elderly NHL that incorporate geriatric tools, especially ADLs, are warranted.