Follicular large-cell lymphoma: intermediate or low grade?

J Clin Oncol. 1994 Jul;12(7):1349-57. doi: 10.1200/JCO.1994.12.7.1349.


Purpose: To evaluate the benefit of anthracycline-based chemotherapy, identify prognostic factors, and determine the value of the International Prognostic Factors Index for patients with follicular large-cell (FLC) lymphoma.

Patients and methods: This retrospective study includes 96 patients with FLC lymphoma treated at Stanford University Medical Center between 1969 and 1991. Fifty-five patients received doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide-containing chemotherapy regimens, 21 patients received other chemotherapy regimens, 15 patients received radiotherapy only, and five patients received no initial therapy. Thirty-four patients had stage I or II disease and 62 patients had stage III or IV disease.

Results: With a median follow-up duration of 5.2 years (range, 1 to 18), the actuarial 5- and 10-year overall survival rates were 75% and 54%, with actuarial 5- and 10-year freedom from progression (FFP) rates of 53% and 42%, respectively. Patients treated with chemotherapy regimens that contained both doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide had a superior actuarial 10-year FFP rate (55% v 25%, P = .06) and overall survival rate (65% v 42%, P = .04) compared with patients treated with other chemotherapy regimens. Only one patient treated with doxorubicin plus cyclophosphamide relapsed after 3 years. In the multivariate analysis, discordant lymphoma and treatment with chemotherapy regimens not containing both cyclophosphamide and doxorubicin predicted for worse FFP and overall survival rates. In addition, poor performance status and increasing areas of diffuse histology predicted for a worse survival, while anemia and male sex predicted for a worse FFP. The age-specific International Index was useful in predicting outcome; however, few patients with FLC lymphoma had high-risk features.

Conclusion: The plateau in FFP implies that patients with FLC lymphoma enjoy sustained remissions after standard anthracycline-based chemotherapy. FLC lymphoma should continue to be approached as an intermediate-grade lymphoma with curative intent.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actuarial Analysis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Doxorubicin / administration & dosage
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Follicular / radiotherapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / diagnosis*
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / radiotherapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Doxorubicin
  • Cyclophosphamide