During my formative years, a textbook of hematology would contain a single, rather brief, chapter on lymphomas. Within the pages would be clinical and pathologic descriptions in broad terms relating to a limited number of recognized histologic subtypes. As our knowledge increased, the chapters were separated into Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin, and then the latter into B- and T-cell. Treatment strategies from that period relied heavily on radiation therapy, but eventually active systemic treatment was available, although founded on those derivatives of mustard gas, the alkylating agents, as well as corticosteroids, and a series of other non-specific cytotoxic drugs. Means to assess response were rudimentary and variable, including radiographs, lymphangiograms and ultrasounds. It was totally unclear why some patients with a similar histologic morphology would be cured, whereas others were resistant to similar treatments. In this context, the glacial speed of journal publications was sufficient.
Now it is quite difficult to stay in stride with the extraordinary progress being made in the world of lymphomas. The past few years have witnessed a new revision of the World Health Organization classification based to a large extent on molecular and genetic characteristics that distinguish patients even within histologic subtypes, and a treatment revolution as a result of a myriad of new, non-cytotoxic, targeted therapeutic agents to treat the various histologic subtypes. These include monoclonal antibodies and their derivatives, B-cell receptor targeting agents, bcl-2 inhibitors, drugs that focus on the microenvironment, immunomodulatory and cellular therapies, with the goal of a chemotherapy-free world for lymphoma patients. To keep pace with this progress required updated criteria for staging and response assessment in the form of the Lugano Classification and its LYRIC modification.
Thus, it is opportune for initiating the Annals of Lymphoma, a new journal that focuses exclusively on this heterogeneous group of diseases we have long referred to as lymphoma. Annals will rapidly publish advances in basic, clinical and translational research into epidemiology, biology, genetics, pathology, treatment and outcomes. This journal is a free access publication that permits the rapid dissemination of information world-wide, informing clinicians and investigators, and further stimulating research in the various related disciplines. Within these pages, readers will also find reviews on the current status and perspectives on where the field is headed. We will also include a fast track feature with which authors may submit papers previously submitted, but not accepted elsewhere, along with the critiques from the previous journal, which is intended to facilitate publication of high-quality research in the annals. The Editorial Board has been selected to include investigators with a long-standing commitment to the field who can provide guidance for the direction of the journal. Our intent is for annals to become a valuable resource for all things related to human lymphoma, fostering an exchange of scientific data, and disseminating information that will improve the outcome of our patients.
Bruce D. Cheson, MD, FACP, FAAAS, FASCO
Conflicts of Interest: The author has no conflicts of interest to declare.