The Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI) and the histological subtype are the most important factors to predict histological transformation in follicular lymphoma

E Giné, S Montoto, F Bosch, L Arenillas, S Mercadal, N Villamor, A Martínez, L Colomo, E Campo, E Montserrat, A López-Guillermo
Annals of Oncology: Official Journal of the European Society for Medical Oncology 2006, 17 (10): 1539-45

BACKGROUND: Histological transformation (HT) is a well-known event in patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) conferring an unfavorable prognosis. The aim of the study was to analyze incidence and risk factors for HT in a large series of FL patients.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 276 patients (median age: 54 years; M139/F137) diagnosed with FL (42% grade 1, 51% 2, 7% 3) in a single institution were studied. Initial treatment consisted of combined chemotherapy in most cases. Median survival was 11.3 years. Main clinic and biological variables were assessed for HT and survival.

RESULTS: 30 of 276 patients (11%) presented HT after a median follow-up of 6.5 years, with a risk of 15% and 22% at 10 and at 15 years, respectively. All HT corresponded to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Grade 3 histology, nodal areas >4, increased LDH and beta(2)-microglobulin, and high-risk IPI and FLIPI were associated with HT. In multivariate analysis, grade 3 histology and FLIPI retained prognostic significance. Only FLIPI predicted HT in grade 1-2 patients. 28 patients received salvage treatment for HT, with a CR rate of 52%. Median survival from transformation was 1.2 years, with 6/13 CR patients being alive >5 years after HT.

CONCLUSION: FLIPI and histology were the most important variables predicting HT. Upon HT, only patients achieving CR reached prolonged survival, thus emphasizing the need for effective therapies once this event occurs.


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