SAB Member, Jonathan W. Friedberg's study demonstrates the importance of careful evaluation at diagnosis of FL patients for progression-free survival

Dr. Jonathan W. Friedberg, Chief, Hematology/Oncology at URMC Wilmot Cancer Center and Lymphoma Research Foundation Scientific Advisory Board member, is lead author on an exciting new study believed to be the largest investigation of early-stage follicular lymphoma (FL) in recent years. Published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the study challenges treatment guidelines for early stage FL, concluding that six different therapies can result in remission, particularly if the patient is carefully examined and receives a comprehensive staging exam at diagnosis.

At present, when early stage FL is diagnosed, patients and their oncologists are taking many diverse treatment paths. But there is limited data to support one method over another. According to Dr. Friedberg's study, the established approach based on providing only radiation therapy, is not necessarily the best choice for early follicular lymphoma. In fact, what rises to the top, is that two groups emerged in the study: People who received a comprehensive staging exam, which included imaging tests and a bone marrow biopsy, and people who were not carefully assessed. The study concludes that "the patients who were most carefully evaluated at diagnosis had superior progression-free survival, which means the cancer did not relapse as often." These findings emphasize the importance of a thorough patient evaluation at diagnosis, as the best way to predict the prognosis.

*This research was funded by Genentech with additional funding from a National Cancer Institute SPORE grant, which supports a lymphoma research partnership between the URMC and University of Arizona Cancer Center.