Sarcopenia reportedly predicts poor outcomes in elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). However, because previous studies only involved elderly patients, it is difficult to generalize these results to all patients with DLBCL. We retrospectively analyzed 207 patients with DLBCL who received the R-CHOP or R-THP-COP regimen between June 2004 and May 2014. Sarcopenia was measured by the analysis of CT images at the L3 level before treatment. The surface of muscular tissues was selected according to the CT Hounsfield unit. This value was normalized for stature in order to calculate the L3 skeletal muscle index (L3 SMI, cm2/m2). Median age at diagnosis in the 121 males and 86 females was 67 years (range, 19–86 years). The sex-specific cutoffs for the L3 SMI were determined by receiver operator curve (ROC) analysis. Sarcopenic patients were older than non-sarcopenic patients, with a median age of 70 and 65 years, respectively (p < 0.001). Other International Prognostic Index factors were not significantly different when comparing sarcopenic and non-sarcopenic patients. With a median follow-up of 50.4 months, the 3-year overall survival (OS) was 70 % in the sarcopenic group and 85 % in the non-sarcopenic group (p = 0.0260). In a subgroup analysis by gender, there was a significant difference in the OS when comparing sarcopenic and non-sarcopenic patients in males but not in females (p = 0.0003, p = 0.4440, respectively). Sarcopenia is an independent prognostic factor in male patients with DLBCL.
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