For patients with follicular lymphoma who were older than 80 years of age, receipt of appropriate therapy for follicular lymphoma was associated with living longer, found a retrospective cohort study. The study findings were recently published in the Journal of Geriatric Oncology.

Study researchers retrospectively identified patients from the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)-Medicare database who were older than 80 years and had received a diagnosis of follicular lymphoma between 2000 and 2013. Patients were grouped as either having received a follicular lymphoma-directed therapy (ie, a therapy recommended by National Comprehensive Cancer Network [NCCN] guidelines between 1997 and 2016) or having not received this kind of treatment and who were therefore characterized as being “untreated” for follicular lymphoma.

A total of 3705 patients were identified, of whom 2519 (68%) received a follicular lymphoma-directed therapy and 1186 (32%) whom did not. The cohort had a median age of 84 years (interquartile range [IQR], 81-87 years) and were followed for a median of 2.9 years (IQR, 1.2-5.5 years). Twenty-one percent of patients received rituximab monotherapy in the first-line setting, making it the most frequently used frontline treatment.

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Patients who were treated had a significantly longer median overall survival compared with patients who were not (4.31 years vs 2.86 years; P <.001), and a survival difference was consistently seen 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 years after diagnosis.

Overall, patients who received follicular lymphoma-directed treatment had a 23% lower likelihood of death compared with patients who did not (hazard ratio [HR], 0.77; 95% CI, 0.70-0.85).

“These findings can support treatment decision making for individuals diagnosed with FL [follicular lymphoma] at older ages,” the study authors concluded.


Albarmawi H, Onukwugha E, Keating KN, Appukkuttan S, and Yared J. Survival benefit associated with treating follicular lymphoma in patients 80 years or older [published online November 6, 2019]. J Geriatr Oncol. doi: 10.1016/j.jgo.2019.10.003