Lay Summary: I review options for follicular lymphoma treatment.
Patients with low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) have a median survival of 4-8 years from diagnosis and a cause-specific survival of about 10 years. Radiotherapy can be curative in a small proportion of patients with very localized disease, but the majority of patients have advanced disease at diagnosis and it is not clear that any current therapy is curative in this situation. While in many instances patients with high-grade NHL are cured by chemotherapy, those with low-grade NHL, despite impressive response rates, almost invariably relapse. A ‘watch-and-wait’ strategy can therefore delay the onset of chemotherapy by 2-3 years, without affecting survival. Results with autologous stem cell transplantation have been similarly disappointing to date. Rituximab is a human-mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody that represents a novel approach to treatment of low-grade NHL, targeting malignant cells without the side effects associated with chemotherapy. A pivotal study has demonstrated a response rate of 56% in relapsed or refractory low-grade NHL. The relatively benign side-effect profile means rituximab can be used early in the disease process, and in combination with chemotherapeutic regimens and autologous transplantation. Ongoing and future studies will define the optimal role of rituximab in treatment of low-grade NHL.
In addition to the R-CVP regimen, NCCN 201 on p. FOLL_B, 1 cites R-CHOP, FR(fludarabine/rituximab), radioimmunotherapy, RFNDP, bendamustine/rituximab, rituximab alone.