A retrospective cohort study found that surveillance imaging for patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) did not improve their survival outcomes after first relapse, aligning with the results of a prior study that also showed a lack of association between surveillance imaging and overall survival improvement.1,2 The latest findings were reported at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting.

The study cohort population was composed of 117 patients who were retrospectively identified from a prospective study of 1121 newly diagnosed patients with FL who were enrolled in the University of Iowa/Mayo Clinic SPORE Molecular Epidemiology Resource (MER). The retrospectively identified patients had relapsed more than 26 weeks after induction therapy, and these relapsed patients included 59 who achieved a complete response, 51 who achieved a partial response, 6 who achieved stable disease, and 1 who achieved an unspecified response.

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The median time to first relapse was 2.2 years (range, 0.7–10.4 years), and relapse could be detected either via clinical suspicion or, if symptoms were absent, surveillance imaging. Clinical suspicion was the more frequent detection method, with 63 relapses (53.8%) detected via clinical suspicion and 50 relapses (42.7%) detected via surveillance imaging; 4 relapses (3.4%) had an unknown detection method.

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The patients whose relapse was detected via clinical suspicion had no difference in overall survival measured from the point of diagnosis (hazard ratio [HR], 0.98; 95% CI, 0.45–2.13; P =.962) or the point of relapse (HR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.45–2.12; P =.959) compared with those whose relapse was detected via surveillance imaging.

The study authors wrote that surveillance as a measure of relapse detection, “does not appear to improve overall survival outcomes in FL patients after achieving first remission.”


  1. Mao J, Sun Strouse C, Goldman M, et al. Impact on survival of surveillance imaging after first remission in follicular lymphoma. Poster presented at: 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting; May 31-June 4, 2019; Chicago, IL. Abstract 7536.
  2. Goldman ML, Kim C, Chen Z, et al. Surveillance imaging during first-remission in follicular lymphoma does not impact overall survival. Poster presented at: American Society of Hematology 59th Annual Meeting & Exposition; December 9-12, 2017; Atlanta, GA. Abstract 1501.