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Hum Pathol. 2013 Nov;44(11):2529-35. doi: 10.1016/j.humpath.2013.06.013. Epub 2013 Jul 31.

Prognostic implications of histologic grade and intensity of Bcl-2 expression in follicular lymphomas undergoing rituximab-containing therapy.

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Department of Pathology and Clinical Laboratory, National Cancer Center Hospital, 5-1-1 Tsukiji, Chuo-ku, 104-0045 Tokyo, Japan. Electronic address:


This study aimed to determine the correlations of 7 histopathologic prognostic indicators of follicular lymphoma (follicular lymphoma grade, CD10 expression, Bcl-2 expression, IGH/BCL2 fusion, diffuse area, fibrosis, and marginal zone differentiation) with progression-free survival, overall survival, and follicular lymphoma histologic grade in 255 follicular lymphoma patients who were treated with rituximab-containing therapy. The complete response, overall response, 6-year progression-free survival, and 6-year overall survival rates were 83%, 96%, 56%, and 97%, respectively. Patients with follicular lymphoma grades 3a and 3b showed 100% 6-year and 10-year overall survival, and progression-free survival did not significantly differ between patients with follicular lymphoma grade 3 and those with follicular lymphoma grades 1 and 2. The absence or presence of Bcl-2 expression and intensity of Bcl-2 expression were not significant prognostic indicators of progression-free survival and overall survival. Likewise, the presence of IGH/BCL2 fusion, diffuse area, fibrosis, and marginal zone differentiation were not significantly correlated with progression-free survival and overall survival. Follicular lymphoma grade 3 was correlated with nodal disease and negative or lower intensity of Bcl-2 expression, but not with age, stage, or IGH/BCL2 status. In the prerituximab era, grade 3 disease was reported to be associated with a poor prognosis; however, the opposite was true for patients treated with rituximab-containing therapy, regardless of their age or disease stage. Bcl-2 expression and marginal zone differentiation were not prognostic indicators in follicular lymphoma patients treated with rituximab-containing therapy.


Bcl-2; Follicular lymphoma; Grade 3; Rituximab

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