Evaluating the impact of eligibility criteria in first-line clinical trials for follicular lymphoma: a MER/LEO cohort analysis

Danny Luan, Tolulope Fatola, Ahmed Toure, Christopher R. Flowers, Brian Link, Jonathan W. Friedberg, Jonathon B. Cohen, Brad Kahl, Izidore S. Lossos, Loretta Nastoupil, Matthew J. Maurer, James R. Cerhan, Peter Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cancer clinical trial eligibility criteria may create patient populations studied in trials that do not reflect the patient populations treated in the real-world setting. Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an indolent lymphoma with heterogeneous presentations across a broad range of individuals, resulting in many acceptable management strategies. We evaluated how first-line clinical trial eligibility criteria impacted the demographic makeup and outcomes of patients with FL for whom systemic therapy might be considered. We compared the characteristics of 196 patients with FL from a single institution to eligibility criteria from 10 first-line FL trials on clinicaltrials.gov. Next, we tabulated eligibility criteria from 24 first-line FL protocols and evaluated their impact on 1198 patients with FL with stages II to IV disease from the prospective Molecular Epidemiology Resource (MER) and Lymphoma Epidemiology of Outcomes (LEO) cohort studies. We found that 39.8% and 52.7% of patients with FL might be excluded from clinical trials based on eligibility criteria derived from clinicaltrials.gov and protocol documents, respectively. Patients excluded because of renal function, prior malignancy, and self-reported serious health conditions tended to be older. Expanding stage requirement from III-IV to II-IV, and platelet requirement from $150 000 to $75 000 increased population size by 21% and 8%, respectively, in MER and by 16% and 13%, respectively, in LEO, without impacting patient demographics or outcomes. These data suggest that management of older individuals with FL may not be fully informed by recent clinical trials. Moreover, liberalizing stage and platelet criteria might expand the eligible population and allow for quicker trial accrual without impacting outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4413-4423
Number of pages11
JournalBlood Advances
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 9 2022


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