Relapsed or Refractory Follicular Lymphoma

Understanding Refractory and Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma

Follicular Lymphoma is a type of slow-growing Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (NHL). In most cases, it can be treated with the combination of chemotherapy and rituximab.

Relapsed and refractory follicular lymphoma refers to types of lymphoma that are resistant to conventional treatments. If lymphoma returns or progresses after a period of remission, it is referred to as a relapse. If the cancer returns after trying all available treatment options, it is referred to as refractory. Both types of cancer are considered advanced forms and usually require more aggressive treatments.

Treatments for Refractory and Relapsed Follicular Lymphomas

Treatments for refractory and relapsed follicular lymphoma depends on the individual patient. Treatment options may include:

  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted therapies
  • Immunotherapies
  • Stem cell transplants

Radiation therapy usually involves external beam radiation therapy, which delivers X-rays or other types of radiation from outside the body. It is used to target cancer cells and can be used alone or with other treatments.

Chemotherapy is a type of cancer treatment using drugs to kill cancer cells. Some common chemotherapy drugs used to treat follicular lymphoma are bendamustine, cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide and chlorambucil.

Targeted therapies are drugs that target certain molecules involved in the growth and spread of cancer cells. Examples of targeted drugs used in follicular lymphoma include bortezomib, lenalidomide, and ibrutinib.

Immunotherapies use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer cells. Examples of immunotherapies used in follicular lymphoma include nivolumab, rituximab, and lenalidomide.

Stem cell transplants involve removing cells from the bone marrow or peripheral blood and replacing them with healthy stem cells from a donor. This procedure is used as a last resort for patients who have not responded to other treatments.

Outlook for Refractory and Relapsed Follicular Lymphoma Patients

Refractory and relapsed follicular lymphoma is considered advanced cancer, but there are treatments available. Treatment options are tailored to the individual patient and may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, immunotherapies, or stem cell transplants.

The outlook for patients with relapsed and refractory follicular lymphoma depends on the individual’s overall health and the stage of the cancer. While the prognosis is not always positive, many patients are able to manage their cancer for long periods of time with treatments.