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Chromatin modifying gene mutations in follicular lymphoma

Michael R. Green

Abstract

Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an indolent malignancy of germinal center B (GCB)-cells. Although the overall survival of FL patients has recently improved with the introduction of novel therapies, there is significant heterogeneity in patient outcome and a need for rationally designed therapeutic strategies that target disease biology. Next generation sequencing studies have identified chromatin modifying gene (CMG) mutations as a hallmark of FL, highlighting epigenetic modifiers as an attractive therapeutic target in this disease. Understanding the complex roles of these mutations will be central to identifying and adaptively targeting associated vulnerabilities. Recent studies have provided insight into the functional consequences of the most frequently mutated CMGs (KMT2D, CREBBP and EZH2), and point to a role for these events in modifying normal B-cell differentiation programs and impeding germinal center exit. However, the majority of FL tumors serially acquire multiple CMG mutations, suggesting that there is a level of crosstalk or cooperation between these events that has not yet been defined. Here, I review the current state of knowledge on CMG mutations in FL, discuss their potential as therapeutic targets, and offer my perspective on unexplored areas that should be considered in the future.

  • Submitted August 1, 2017.
  • Accepted November 15, 2017.