Follicular lymphoma dynamics

Adv Immunol. 2021:150:43-103. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2021 Jun 18.


Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an indolent yet challenging disease. Despite a generally favorable response to immunochemotherapy regimens, a fraction of patients does not respond or relapses early with unfavorable prognosis. For the vast majority of those who initially respond, relapses will repeatedly occur with increasing refractoriness to available treatments. Addressing the clinical challenges in FL warrants deep understanding of the nature of treatment-resistant FL cells seeding relapses, and of the biological basis of early disease progression. Great progress has been made in the last decade in the description and interrogation of the (epi)genomic landscape of FL cells, of their major dependency to the tumor microenvironment (TME), and of the stepwise lymphomagenesis process, from healthy to subclinical disease and to overt FL. A new picture is emerging, in which an ever-evolving tumor-TME duo sparks a complex and multilayered clonal and functional heterogeneity, blurring the discovery of prognostic biomarkers, patient stratification and reliable designs of risk-adapted treatments. Novel technological approaches allowing to decipher both tumor and TME heterogeneity at the single-cell level are beginning to unravel unsuspected cell dynamics and plasticity of FL cells. The upcoming drawing of a comprehensive functional picture of FL within its ecosystem holds great promise to address the unmet medical needs of this complex lymphoma.

Keywords: Cell of origin (COO); Committed precursor cell (CPC); Follicular lymphoma (FL); Plasticity; Single-cell RNA-seq; Tumor microenvironment; Unmet medical need.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ecosystem
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Lymphoma, Follicular* / therapy
  • Prognosis
  • Tumor Microenvironment