Blood Adv. 2020 Aug 11;4(14):3217-3223. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2020001955.
Complete molecular response (CMR) after first-line immunochemotherapy reflects treatment efficacy and may predict prognosis in patients with follicular lymphoma (FL). RELEVANCE is the first phase 3 trial comparing the chemotherapy-free regimen lenalidomide/rituximab (R2) vs rituximab/chemotherapy (R-Chemo) in previously untreated FL patients (ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01650701). The objective of the minimal residual disease (MRD) analysis was to determine the ability of a
chemotherapy-free regimen to induce CMR. Of 440 French patients participating in the Lymphoma Study Association (LYSA) RELEVANCE MRD study, all 222 patients with a BIOMED-2-detectable BCL2-JH translocation at diagnosis were analyzed. MRD was quantified by droplet digital polymerase chain reaction with a sensitivity ≤10-4. At week 24 (end of induction treatment), 98% and 78% of patients achieved CMR in peripheral blood (PB) and bone marrow (BM), respectively. Achievement of CMR (in PB and/or BM) had a significant impact on progression-free survival (PFS), with 3-year PFS of 84% and 55% for patients with CMR and detectable MRD, respectively (P = .015). CMR at week 24 was reached more frequently in the R2 arm (105/117; 90%) than in the R-Chemo arm (70/90; 77%) (P = .022). The poor prognostic value in terms of PFS for the persistence of molecular disease was observed irrespective of treatment arm (interaction test, P = .31). In agreement with the clinical results of the RELEVANCE trial, our results show that R2 immunomodulatory treatment in first-line FL can achieve high rates of CMR.