Follicular lymphoma is a B-cell malignancy that belongs to the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma category; these tumors are named after their circular or nodular growth patterns typically seen in lymph nodes.1,2
Patients with follicular lymphoma normally present with superficial lymph nodes of small to medium size that may stay unnoticed or neglected by the patient for a prolonged time.3 Follicular lymphomas are typically slow-growing tumors and may not require treatment at the time of diagnosis; instead, treatment may be initiated once the follicular lymphoma causes severe clinical problems.2 Although the disease is usually characterized by a typically indolent clinical course, the majority of patients tend to relapse after their treatment.2
- Most follicular lymphoma patients display a genomic abnormality involving chromosomes 14 and 18 that results in an inappropriate activation of an oncogene called Bcl-22
- Follicular lymphoma may grow in several lymph node sites and is known to involve bone marrow in about 50% to 60% of cases3
- In about one-third of cases, follicular lymphoma may turn into an aggressive form of disease called diffuse large B-cell lymphoma that is treated as the aggressive disease2
- Follicular lymphoma is generally associated with a good prognosis; about 70% of patients survive 5 years or more2
Follicular Lymphoma Demographic Statistics
- Approximately 1 out of 5 of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas belong to the follicular lymphoma category.
- The average age for people afflicted with this lymphoma is about 60 years2
Follicular Lymphoma Epidemiology
Physicians have developed the Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI) that uses 5 prognostic factors to classify patients as low-risk, intermediate risk, and high-risk2
The low-risk patient group has a 5-year survival rate of 91%, followed by the intermediate risk group with a survival rate of 78%2
The high-risk patient group has the least favorable survival rate of 53%2
1. US Department of Health and Human Services. National Cancer Institute. What you need to know about™ non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/non-hodgkin-lymphoma.pdf. Accessed April 14, 2011.
2. American Cancer Society. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003126-pdf.pdf. Accessed April 14, 2011.
3. Salles GA. Clinical features, prognosis and treatment of follicular lymphoma. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2007:216-225. PMID: 18024633
4. American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2010. www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-026238.pdf. Accessed April 14, 2011.