The role of "watch and wait" in intestinal follicular lymphoma in rituximab era

Akira Tari, Hideki Asaoku, Katsuyoshi Takata, Shunji Fujimori, Shinji Tanaka, Megumu Fujihara, Tadashi Koga, Tadashi Yoshino
Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology 2016, 51 (3): 321-8

OBJECTIVE: There is no consensus regarding the best treatment for intestinal follicular lymphoma (FL). We used "watch and wait" for patients with intestinal FL with low-tumor-burden (LTB) criteria and without mass formation causing bowel obstruction. We investigated the overall survival (OS) and time to treatment required (TTR).

METHODS: Thirty-three intestinal FL patients [clinical stage (CS) I:16, II1:0, II2:7, IV:10; median observation period: 45.5 months, range: 13-110 months] were diagnosed via endoscopy. Detailed clinical and pathological examinations were performed, and neoplastic process behavior was monitored.

RESULTS: All of the 33 patients were WHO grade 1. FL lesions in the digestive tract were found frequently in the second-fourth portion of the duodenum in 91% of the patients; 87% of those patients had lesions in a broader area including the small intestine. Two patients had an enlargement of the area of the lesions and a worsening of the macroscopic findings. Three patients had CS progression; however, these remained within the indication for "watch and wait." Two patients with transformation into diffuse large B-cell lymphoma received rituximab and chemotherapy, which led to complete remission. The OS was 100%. The time to treatment required (TTR) was 49 months in one patient and 37 months in one patient.

CONCLUSION: Intestinal FL in CS I-IV with broad infiltration of the digestive tract meeting the criteria for LTB had a remarkably slow course. This study suggests that "watch and wait" is appropriate for the treatment of LTB intestinal FL even in the era of rituximab.


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