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Combined clinical and gene expression score identifies high-risk individuals among follicular lymphoma patients on immunotherapy

Follicular lymphoma (FL) is usually an indolent malignant B-cell lymphoma, but at least 30% of the patients experience transformation to Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) with inferior survival. Early identification of patients with poor prognosis is essential for tailoring treatment. Here, we describe a network-based integrative analysis of 168 FL-biopsies from 127 patients with long clinical follow-up and transformation status. A distinct shift in expression towards a DLBCL expression phenotype is observed in BTK associated genes in cases with transformation. This shift is present years prior to transformation. An integrated score combining the BTK score and a clinical index is proposed, termed the BTK-FLIPI score. It identifies patients (16%) with very poor prognosis, with median time to progression 21.7 months (95% CI: 14.3-42.6) versus 70.9 months (95% CI: 41.5-95.0) for the remainder. The results suggest BTK as a potential target for treatment of high-risk FL-patients.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00010002543 Affymetrix HGU133plus2.0 83
EGAD00010002544 Affymetrix SNP Array 6.0 83