L-Asparaginase-based treatment of 15 western patients with extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma and leukemia and a review of the literature

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Extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma, nasal type, and aggressive NK-cell leukemia are highly aggressive diseases with a poor outcome.

Patients and methods

We report a multicentric French retrospective study of 15 patients with relapsed, refractory, or disseminated disease, treated with L-asparaginase-containing regimens in seven French centers. Thirteen patients were in relapse and/or refractory and 10 patients were at stage IV.


All but two of the patients had an objective response to L-asparaginase-based treatment. Seven patients reached complete remission and only two relapsed.


These data, although retrospective, confirm the excellent activity of L-asparaginase-containing regimens in refractory extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma and aggressive NK-cell leukemia. Therefore, L-asparaginase-based regimen should be considered as a salvage treatment, especially for patients with disseminated disease. First-line L-asparaginase combination therapy for extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma and aggressive NK-cell leukemia should be tested in prospective trials.

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