Abstract

The initial approach to the management of follicular lymphoma (FL) is challenging for patients and physicians. Most FL patients present with minimal symptoms; given the lack of a survival benefit to early treatment in this population, a period of observation without therapy is often appropriate. Once there is disease progression beyond low-tumor-burden criteria or symptoms prompting intervention, patients may be considered for an array of potential treatment options. These range from single-agent rituximab (anti-CD20) to various forms of chemoimmunotherapy, including rituximab or the newer anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody obinutuzumab. Unfortunately, prognostic and other clinical factors are of limited value in guiding optimal selection of therapy. Once patients complete initial treatment and achieve a complete or a partial remission, the next decision relates to the pros and cons of maintenance anti-CD20 therapy. Maintenance antibody administration can improve progression-free, but not overall, survival; hence, patient preferences typically drive this decision. Monitoring after remission is achieved should generally be guided by symptoms, physical examination, and laboratory findings, with routine surveillance imaging discouraged in the absence of new clinical issues. Given the wide range of options available and the importance of optimizing quality of life in this chronic health condition, education and shared decision making are pillars in the upfront management of FL to help patients achieve the best possible outcomes.

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