Increased potential for cure for people with aggressive blood cancer
Three-year follow up data from GELA study shows greatly improved long term survival for aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients treated with MabThera
Data presented today (1 June 2003) at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting showed that patients with an aggressive form of the blood cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), who were treated with MabThera plus standard chemotherapy (CHOP), have an improved chance of survival after three years compared with those treated with standard chemotherapy alone. These results offer significant hope for people with the aggressive form of NHL, one of the most common types of blood cancer of the lymphatic system. Current medical opinion indicates that if patients survive past the two-year landmark their chance of a cure can be up to 90%.Results from the pivotal GELA Study (Groupe d’Etude des Lymphomes de l’Adulte) have shown that three-year event free survival for patients treated with MabThera plus CHOP is 53%, compared to 35% for patients treated with CHOP alone. Moreover, 62% of those patients receiving MabThera plus CHOP were still alive 3 years after treatment compared to 51% of the patients who were treated with chemotherapy alone. Importantly, MabThera did not increase the toxicity of therapy when compared to chemotherapy alone.”These results represent a real breakthrough for people with aggressive NHL. This combination therapy is the first treatment in 20 years to offer patients a great improvement in long term survival,” commented principal GELA study investigator Professor Bertrand Coiffier, head of the Department of Hematology, Hospices Civiles de Lyon, France. “It confirms that MabThera plus CHOP is the gold standard treatment for this aggressive form of cancer. It is the only recent treatment in aggressive NHL proven to increase survival and potentially offer a cure without an increase in toxicity. People with aggressive NHL must be treated with this combination wherever possible.”MabThera works by ‘seek and destroy’ action, which unlike chemotherapy specifically targets tumour cells, therefore it does not cause the unpleasant side effects associated with traditional chemotherapy. Approximately 1.5 million people worldwide have NHL, 55% of them have the aggressive form of the disease, which if left untreated can be fatal within six months. The remaining 45% suffer from indolent NHL, where tumour cells divide slowly and patients may live for many years, however currently there is no cure. The causes of NHL remain unknown, however it is more common than leukaemia and worldwide is the 3rd fastest growing form of cancer, after skin melanoma and lung cancer.MabThera was discovered by IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corporation and was jointly developed by IDEC, Genentech, Inc, Roche and Zenyaku Kogyo Co. Ltd of Japan. In July 1998, Genentech granted Roche exclusive marketing rights for MabThera outside the USA. (marketed as Rituxan in USA, Japan and Canada). MabThera is the Roche World-Wide Prescription Group’s largest prescription product just four years after its first launch.Roche is a world leader in oncology. Its franchise includes [alink href=”/asp/pharmacy/pharmacy.asp?iDrugID=43”]Herceptin[/alink] (breast cancer), [alink href=”/asp/pharmacy/pharmacy.asp?iDrugID=42″]MabThera[/alink] (non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma), [alink href=”/asp/pharmacy/pharmacy.asp?iDrugID=25″]Xeloda[/alink](colorectal cancer, breast cancer) NeoRecormon (anaemia in various cancer settings), Roferon-A (leukaemia, Kaposi’s sarcoma, malignant melanoma, renal cell carcinoma) and Kytril (chemotherapy and radiotherapy-induced nausea).Roche Oncology has four research sites (two in the US, Germany and Japan) and four HQ Development sites (two in the US, UK and Switzerland) dedicated to Oncology.