One of the highlights of the haematology Society meeting this year was the presentation of information relating to the treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The addition of a monoclonal antibody, MabThera (rituximab), to standard treatment showed an improvement in response and survival rate of this illness.
The standard treatment in lymphoma had progressed little over the last 25 years. Since the routine use of CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisolone), became established in the 1970s, prognosis and survival had changed very little. In elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, complete responses occur in up to 45 percent of patients, with a three-year survival rate of 35 percent.
Other chemotherapy regimens such as MABOP-B and ACBV have not shown any great advantage.
A recent randomised trial comparing MabThera in combination with CHOP to CHOP alone showed a significant difference in complete response rate. The response rate in the MabThera group was 76 percent versus 63 percent in the CHOP alone group. There were less treatment failures and a lower rate of relapse plus an increased survival rate in the MabThera-CHOP group.
Initial studies of CHOP given on a 14 day cycle (CHOP14) have shown an advantage compared to CHOP 21 (21 day cycle). Further studies are now in progress evaluating MabThera-CHOP 14 (which is MabThera combined with CHOP given every 14 days) versus MabThera-CHOP 21 and CHOP 14 and CHOP 21. It is hoped that these results will be available at ESMO in October.
To quote Dr David Joske, Consultant Haematologist from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Perth, ‘rituximab (MabThera) is the first major advance in treatment of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for 25 years.’
MabThera is currently indicated in Australia for treatment of low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. For further information on MabThera, please visit our pharmacy section or treatment section within any of the clinical suites.
For the new information on MabThera is likely to be presented at the European Society of Medical Oncology meeting in October this year. Virtualcancercentre.com will be bringing you the latest breaking news from the conference.