Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Transformed Follicular Lymphoma: Some Good News

Busy as heck lately, with work and (especially) my active children. That's in no way a complaint -- stepping back, I'm happy to be healthy enough to be run ragged. But it sure does cut into my time to read, write, and generally be a cancer nerd.


That said, here's a quickie.

And, trust me, it's a good one.

Article from the British Journal of Haematology from about a month ago: "Transformed Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in the Rituximab Era: Analysis of the NCCN Outcomes Database."

First of, the NCCN is the National Comprehensive Cancer Network is a group of 23 major cancer research centers (Dana Farber in Boston, Sloan-Kettering in New York, MD Anderson in Houston, Fred Hutchinson in Seattle -- that level of awesomeness), and their Outcomes Database is a large collection of information about treatments and outcomes of patients from those 23 cancer centers. It's been around for about 16 years, and has collected a ton of data that gets analyzed to help decide what is working and what isn't.

Researchers analyzed the data from patients with indolent NHL (like, of course, Follicular Lymphoma) who transformed to a more aggressive lymphoma. they looked at 118 patients and tried to figure out who fared best. Some results:

For all 118 patients, the two year survival rate was 68%.

Patients under 60 who received an auto-SCT (an autologous stem cell transplant), the two year survival rate was 74%.

Patients who didn't receive chemotherapy before transforming had excellent outcomes: all of them hit the two year survival target.

I don't have numbers in front of me to compare, but the outcomes seem much better than I normally read about transformation. In fact, the authors conclude, "In this largest prospective cohort of patients of strictly defined HT in the rituximab era, the natural history of HT appears more favourable than historical studies."

In other words, maybe the picture is brighter for transformed follicular lymphoma than what it has been in the past. That's great news.

I've only seen the very shortened abstract version of this study, not the full article, which I am sure contains more nuggets. Perhaps I'll get a chance to take a look at it sometime soon......


Emily Walsh said...

Hi Bob! I was actually just checking out a few of your posts and had a quick question about your blog. I was hoping you could email me back when you get the chance -emilywalsh688 (at) gmail.com- Thanks : )


Anonymous said...

good news indeed! although 2 year survival rate is kinda short but these nevertheless exciting findings! thanks for posting - Jeanne

Lymphomaniac said...

Don't misread that, Jeanne. It means that after 2 years, 74% had survived. They will keep measuring beyond the 2 years. I take that as a very good sign. If my memory is correct, the old statistics were closer to 50% of patients surviving after two years. It's definitely good news.

Anonymous said...

i see! it means after 2 years majority have survived after HT, - Jeanne