As you go through treatment, and read more about lymphoma you will hear a lot about the results of your treatment, or clinical trial results. The currently accepted method to evaluate the response to treatment is the Cheson criteria.
Click on any of the terms below to go to their definition.
Where there are no signs of the disease reappearing, doctors may cautiously begin using the word cure. The ability to cure NHL depends on the type of lymphoma. Many high-grade lymphomas can be cured. Low-grade NHLs tend to reappear, even after long-term remission. The usual standard for aggressive lymphomas is that you must be in complete remission 5 years or more before they will consider calling you cured.
This term is used when all signs of the disease have completely disappeared after treatment. Patients are especially fond of calling this NED (No Evidence of Disease). Although this does not mean that the disease is cured, the symptoms have disappeared and the lymphoma cannot be detected using current tests. If this response is maintained for a long period, it is called a durable remission. The longer a patient is in remission the better the prognosis or outcome. However, as with other cancers, the disease could still possibly return and long-term follow-up is necessary.
This term is used when all traditional methods of scanning show a complete remission, but there may still be something that is questionable. For example a lump that is still there, but shows negative by PET scan which means "most" likely scar tissue. Or ambiguous blood work. Or perhaps no follow up bone marrow biopsy to prove clear marrow. This is almost as good as complete remission but just leaves some room for doubt.
Sometimes (often in a clinical trial setting) advanced testing techniques are used to detect minute quantities of lymphoma. Usually it will be used on the bone marrow or blood. Some of these tests can detect just a single lymphoma cell in a sample of 10,000 cells or more. Some of the techniques used for such sensitive testing are Polymerace Chain Reaction, Flow Cytometry and DNA Microarray. When even these sensitive tests find no trace of lymphoma it is often called a molecular remission. This suggests a superior result to complete remission but nevertheless it is still possible to have a relapse after a molecular remission.
This term is used if the NHL is treated and the tumour shrinks to less than one-half of its original size
This term is used if the tumour shrinks following therapy but is still more than one-half of its original size.
The disease does not get better or worse following therapy.
A cancer that is resistant to treatment.
What is the likely outcome of the disease. Every patient wants to know their prognosis. It is just natural to want to know, even though doctors can only tell you statistically what is likely. They cannot tell you what will happen to you. Yet in the quest to better define the prognosis there exists the "IPI" below. Use it with caution. It is designed to help define who is "at risk" of relapsing not who is going to die tomorrow morning.
An international index for aggressive NHL (diffuse large cell lymphoma) identifies 5 significant risk factors prognostic of overall survival. For each positive risk factor there is a greater risk of relapse. This index can also be applied to the indolent forms of Lymphoma but with a smaller degree of accuracy.
In the pre-Rituximab era patients with 2 or more risk factors have less than a 50% chance of relapse-free and overall survival at 5 years. However the proposed revised IPI indicates since the including of Rituximab with CHOP there are three distinct prognostic risk groups.
It has be suggested (2011) that instead of age 60 being the risk factor it should be raised to 70 due primarily to the benefit of adding Rituximab to therapy. This study was done using the R-CHOP-14 protocol in which R-CHOP is given every 14 days instead of 21.
Validation of the Elderly IPI (E-IPI) for Patients with Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma Using An Independent Data Set From the RICOVER-60 Trial of the German High-Grade Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Study Group (DSHNHL)
There is a proposal for new new IPI by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. it uses the same 5 factors as above, but refines the definition paying more attention to the age and sites of involvement. Since this new proposed NCCN-IPI uses the same factors it is easy to apply and discriminates the higher risk group more accurately. As of 2014 it is too soon yet to say if it will replace the IPI.
In the ever evolving world of advanced genetic testing, researchers are always trying to find more precise and more accurate ways to determine the prognosis for patients with DLBC, and hopefully to direct their therapy more accurately according to their prognosis. To this end a new Biologic Prognostic Model (BPM) has also been proposed. Read the study below.
The FLIPI was proposed by an international cooperative group in 2004, and it pertains to follicular lymphoma, and perhaps to other low grade types as well. Each criteria scores one point. Less is better.
* Note OS means Overall Survival
|# of factors
|% 5 year OS
|% 10 year OS
|3 or higher
There is a proposal to update the FLIPI with a new index. It has not been adopted yet, but you can read the FLIPI2 proposal at the link below.
The MIPI identifies four risk factors for overall survival. For each factor your get points from zero up to 3. The maximum score is 11 points
|0.67 - 0.99
|6.700 - 9.999
|1.0 - 1.49
|10.000 - 14.999
ECOG PS = Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status
LDHULN = lactic acid dehydrogenase institutional upper limit of normal
WBC = white blood cell count from the complete blood count
When the MIPI was applied to the 455 cases:
|Risk group (points)
|% of patients
|5 year overall
|Low Risk (0-3)
This index identifies 4 significant risk factors for overall survival.
Add the risk factors above:
|Median survival (months)
Four different risk factors are defined
Three different 5 year overall survival groups are defined according to the number of risk factors.
Performance status in the aggressive IPI is defined as
|Fully active, able to carry on all pre-disease performance without restriction
|Restricted in physically strenuous activity but ambulatory and able to carry out work of a light or sedentary nature, e.g., light house work, office work
|Ambulatory and capable of all selfcare but unable to carry out any work activities. Up and about more than 50% of waking hours
|Capable of only limited selfcare, confined to bed or chair more than 50% of waking hours
|Completely disabled. Cannot carry on any selfcare. Totally confined to bed or chair
So if you are 2-4 on this scale then you get one point on the IPI scale. If you are 0-1 on the Performance scale you get zero on the IPI. As you can see the goal is to have a low IPI score.
You may also hear of the Karnofsky score. It is a similar scoring system used to evaluate a patients overall performance. However it goes into more detail in an effort to more accurately evaluate a patient for general medical purposes. It is not used when calculating the IPI score above.
Click here to read the Karnofsky performace scale
This index is used to identify co-morbid factors for Non Relapse Mortality (NRM) during a stem cell transplant.
|Atrial fibrillation or flutter, sick sinus syndrome, or ventricular arrhythmias
|Coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, or EF 50%
|Inflammatory bowel disease
|Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis
|Requiring treatment with insulin or oral hypoglycemics but not diet alone
|Transient ischemic attack or cerebrovascular accident
|Depression or anxiety requiring psychiatric consult or treatment
|Chronic hepatitis, bilirubin > ULN to 1.5 x ULN, or AST/ALT > ULN to 2.5 x ULN
|Patients with a body mass index > 35 kg/m2
|Requiring continuation of antimicrobial treatment after day 0
|SLE, RA, polymyositis, mixed CTD, or polymyalgia rheumatica
|Serum creatinine > 2 mg/dL, on dialysis, or prior renal transplantation
|DLco and/or FEV1 66%-80% or dyspnea on slight activity
|Prior solid tumour
|Treated at any time point in the patient's past history, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer
|Heart valve disease
|Except mitral valve prolapse
|DLco and/or FEV1 65% or dyspnea at rest or requiring oxygen
|Liver cirrhosis, bilirubin > 1.5 x ULN, or AST/ALT > 2.5 x ULN