AbstractRelapses of aggressive B-cell lymphomas pose a higher risk to affected patients because of potential treatment resistance and usually rapid tumor growth. Recent advances, such as targeting Bruton tyrosine kinase, have provided promising results in small numbers of cases, but treatment for the majority of patients remains challenging and outcomes are generally poor. A number of recent studies have utilized state-of-the-art genomic technologies in an attempt to better understand tumor genome evolution during relapse and to identify relapse-specific genetic alterations. It has been found that in some settings (e.g. diffuse large B-cell lymphomas in immunocompromised patients, secondary diffuse large B-cell lymphomas as Richter transformations) a significant part of the recurrences are clonally-unrelated de novo neoplasms, which might have distinct genomic and drug sensitivity profiles as well as different prognoses. Similar to earlier findings in indolent lymphomas, genetic tumor evolution of clonally-related relapsing aggressive B-cell lymphomas is predominantly characterized by two patterns: early divergence from a common progenitor and late divergence/linear evolution from a primary tumor. The clinical implications of these distinct patterns are not yet clear and will require additional investigation; however, it is plausible that these two patterns of recurrence are linked to different treatment-resistance mechanisms. Attempts to identify drivers of relapses result in a very heterogeneous list of affected genes and pathways as well as epigenetic mechanisms and suggest many ways of how recurrent tumors can adapt to treatment and expand their malignant properties.
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Vol. 102 No. 7 (2017): July, 2017 : Review Articles
Ferrata Storti Foundation, Pavia, Italy
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