Publish Date: 
Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 08:45

Reduced immune infiltration into nodes associated with poor outcomes in follicular lymphoma

Research published today in the highly prestigious Journal of Clinical Oncology by Mater Research CEO and MRI-UQ Director Professor Maher Gandhi and his team have reported findings that may inform treatment and improve outcomes for patients with follicular lymphoma.

Accounting for around 20% of lymphoma cases, follicular lymphoma is a slow-growing, common subtype of lymphoma.
Whilst three-quarters of patients with this disease respond well to conventional treatment, around 25% respond less well to treatment and have poor outcomes. Currently, it is difficult to determine which patients will be among those with poor outcome, and how best to treat them. 

In these findings published today, investigators from the Blood Cancer Research Group at Mater Research, based at TRI, report findings from a large series of patients with follicular lymphoma in Brisbane. In one of the largest studies of its kind, they were able to confirm their results in large cohorts drawn from Canada and Germany.

Professor Gandhi explains “We have shown that patient outcome was linked to the intensity of immune cell infiltration within the lymphoma-affected node. In short, patients with an immune ‘hot’ node did much better that those with an immune ‘cold’ node.”

“These results suggest that appropriate immune based therapies may be effective in selected patients with this disease,” explains Professor Gandhi. 

“For patients with follicular lymphoma, these findings may help us to select more effective treatments, based on the extent of immune cell infiltration within their cancerous lymph nodes. With more effective treatments, we may be able to improve outcomes for these patients,” adds Professor Gandhi.

Collaborators on the study included The UQ Diamantina Institute, Princess Alexandra Hospital, the BC Cancer Agency, and the University of Munich. It was supported by the NHMRC and the Leukaemia Foundation of Australia.

This publication was published online today in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, and is available at

Images: Prof Maher Gandhi, CEO of Mater Research and Director of MRI-UQ (left), who leads the Blood Cancer Research Group; and first author Dr Josh Tobin from Mater Research (right).