Although patients with bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) lymphoma show an indolent clinical course, appropriate disease management at diagnosis is not well defined. This study aimed to compare 3 treatment strategies for patients with BALT lymphoma: Active surveillance, systemic chemotherapy or immunotherapy at diagnosis, or complete surgical resection at diagnosis. We conducted a retrospective study of all patients with new diagnoses of marginal zone lymphoma (MZL) involving the lung who were treated at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center between 1995 and 2017. Primary BALT lymphoma was defined as disease confined to the lungs and adjacent lymph nodes. Active surveillance was defined as a documented observation plan and $3 months of follow-up before initiating treatment. Overall survival (OS) and event-free survival (EFS) were compared between treatment groups. We reviewed 200 consecutive patients with MZL involving the lung; 123 met the inclusion criteria and were managed by active surveillance (47%), complete surgical resection (41%), or systemic chemotherapy or immunotherapy (11%). With a median followup of >60 months, surgical resection was associated with a superior EFS compared with active surveillance and systemic treatment (6-year EFS: 74% vs 65% vs 62%, respectively; P=013). Larger lesions and thrombocytopenia were associated with shorter EFS. All groups had excellent OS at 6 years (93%), albeit with a slight superiority for surgical resection (100%) over active surveillance (91%) and systemic treatment (76%) (P =.024). BALT lymphoma is an indolent disease that can often be managed expectantly and not require therapy for many years.
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