Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) prognostication requires additional biologic markers. miRNAs may constitute markers for cancer diagnosis, outcome, or therapy response. In the present study, we analyzed the miRNA expression profile in a retrospective multicenter series of 258 DLBCL patients uniformly treated with chemoimmunotherapy. Findings were correlated with overall survival (OS) and progression-free survival (PFS). miRNA and gene-expression profiles were studied using microarrays in an initial set of 36 cases. A selection of miRNAs associated with either DLBCL molecular subtypes (GCB/ABC) or clinical outcome were studied by multiplex RT-PCR in a test group of 240 cases with available formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) diagnostic samples. The samples were divided into a training set (123 patients) and used to derive miRNA-based and combined (with IPI score) Cox regression models in an independent validation series (117 patients). Our model based on miRNA expression predicts OS and PFS and improves upon the predictions based on clinical variables. Combined models with IPI score identified a high-risk group of patients with a 2-year OS and a PFS probability of < 50%. In summary, a precise miRNA signature is associated with poor clinical outcome in chemoimmunotherapy-treated DLBCL patients. This information improves upon IPI-based predictions and identifies a subgroup of candidate patients for alternative therapeutic regimens.
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