The molecular genetics of follicular lymphoma

Jessica Okosun, MA, MB, BChir, PhD, MRCP, FRCPath of Barts Cancer Institute, London, UK discusses the molecular genetics of follicular lymphoma at the 2017 British Society for Haematology (BSH) Annual Scientific Meeting in Brighton, UK. Over the last 6 years or so, new technologies such as next-generation sequencing (NGS) have been used and increased our understanding of the genetics of follicular lymphoma. Follicular lymphoma is normally thought of as a tumor characterized by a particular genetic translocation (the t(14;18) translocation), but studies have revealed cooperating genetic alterations involved in epigenetic regulation. Deregulation occurs, for example, in the mTOR pathway and the JAK/STAT signaling pathway and all these pathways can potentially be targeted by therapy. Further, a subset of patients do badly and Dr Okosun emphasizes the need to work on improving the outcome for those patients. One of the next steps is to identify new prognostic biomarkers that will allow us to classify patients into different categories (for example, low- or high-risk genetic groups) in order to inform treatment.

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