TO PUT THAT INTO CONTEXT
Loretta J. Nastoupil, MD
Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TexasWhat Are the Challenges of Treating Follicular Lymphoma?Follicular lymphoma, the most common indolent lymphoma, is characterized by high rates of initial response to chemoimmunotherapy, but it is not curable with standard therapy. The clinical course of the disease is highly variable and somewhat unpredictable. As a result, the optimal management of follicular lymphoma, including the most effective sequencing of therapy, is undefined. Identifying the subsets of patients at risk for early failure and those with indolent disease that remains quiescent would assist clinicians in tailoring therapy for individual patients. Given the heterogeneity of treatment options and possible clinical outcomes, improvement in risk stratification and personalization in follicular lymphoma is needed, particularly given the expanding treatment options outlined by Dr. Ujjani.What Can We Expect in the Future?Historically, prognostication for patients with follicular lymphoma has relied primarily on clinical characteristics. The Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI) can distinguish patients with low or intermediate risk from those at high risk, but it is not routinely used to guide risk-adapted therapy. More recently, the development of m7-FLIPI, a multivariable risk model incorporating the mutation status of seven genes with established clinical relevance in follicular lymphoma, improved the ability to predict early treatment failure in patients receiving front-line chemoimmunotherapy. Identifying the follicular lymphoma patients at highest risk for early treatment failure with standard therapy allows for their prioritization to a clinical trial assessing some of the novel therapies outlined by Dr. Ujjani.Given the number of therapeutic agents under investigation in follicular lymphoma, and the vast combinatorial possibilities, consideration of toxicity is as imperative as the need to conduct correlational studies to unravel the complexity of this disease.