Bendamustine has demonstrated favourable efficacy in relapsed or refractory indolent lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma. We retrospectively evaluated the pre-treatment clinical and laboratory factors and their correlation with the clinical outcome of these lymphomas. We analysed 53 patients who had been treated with bendamustine alone (n = 6) or rituximab plus bendamustine (n = 47). The overall response rate was 81.1%, with a complete response (CR) rate of 39.6%. The CR rate was significantly low in patients who had elevated levels of soluble interleukin-2 receptor (p = 0.024) and C-reactive protein (CRP; p = 0.004). The 1-year overall survival (OS) rate was 79.3%. An elevated CRP was associated with a short OS (p = 0.056). The present findings suggest that the lymphoma microenvironment and immune response were involved in the effects of bendamustine. These findings are also important in order to understand the pathophysiology of refractory lymphoma and to find effective strategies using bendamustine.