Purpose: Patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) registered in the F2-study and initially managed without treatment were analyzed to describe the presentation and outcome of a watch and wait (W&W) strategy in the rituximab era, to identify parameters for initiating treatment, and to evaluate whether initial W&W could have deleterious effects on treatment efficacy after progression or relapse. Patients and Methods: Between 2003 and 2005, 120 patients selected from the 1,093 treatment-naive patients with FL in the F2-study cohort were initially managed expectantly (W&W), and 107 patients were assessed. Most of these patients (80%) had disseminated disease with a low tumor burden according to Groupe d'Etudes des Lymphomes Folliculaires criteria. Results: After a median follow-up of 64 months, treatment was initiated in 54 patients (50%), with a median delay of 55 months for the entire cohort. In a univariate analysis, involvement of more than four nodal areas (hazard ratio [HR], 2.26) and serum albumin less than 3.5 g/dL (HR, 3.51) were predictive of a shorter time to lymphoma treatment initiation. In a multivariate analysis, only involvement of more than four nodal areas remained significant (HR, 2.32). The 4-year freedom from treatment failure (FFTF) rate of W&W patients (79%; 95% CI, 69% to 85%) was not inferior to that of a subgroup of 242 patients from the F2-study cohort with good prognosis characteristics who were initially treated with a rituximab-based regimen (69%; 95% CI, 61% to 76%; P = .103). Conclusion: In the rituximab era, patients with FL in a selected prognostically favorable group can still be managed with W&W. W&W does not seem to have detrimental effects on FFTF and overall survival rates after treatment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research