Recently, in an attempt to improve the discrimination power of the international prognostic index (IPI), patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma were evaluated to determine the prognostic roles of peripheral blood absolute monocyte count (AMC) and absolute lymphocyte count (ALC). Here, we analysed data of 428 patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) enrolled in a prospective, randomized trial (FOLL05 study) conducted by Fondazione Italiana Linfomi, to assess the impact of AMC and ALC on progression-free survival (PFS). All patients had been treated with one of three treatment combinations: (i) rituximab (R) plus cyclophosphamide, vincristine and prednisone; (ii) R plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone or (iii) R plus mitoxantrone and fludarabine. We showed that only AMC was a powerful predictor of PFS, and possibly overall survival, in patients with FL treated with combination chemotherapy regimens that contained R. The AMC can be used alone as a novel, simple factor that can predict survival outcome in patients with FL, independent of the immunochemotherapy regimen. It may therefore be widely used by clinicians, due to its simplicity and broad applicability. Additionally, it can be combined with other factors that determine the IPI or FLIPI, to increase the discriminating ability of these indices.

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