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Radioimmunotherapy After Chemo Safe for Common Lymphoma

Combo treatment improved overall survival rates in follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma

THURSDAY, March 13 (HealthDay News) -- Radioimmunotherapy after chemotherapy is safe and effective for patients with follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), according to an Italian study.

It found that radioimmunotherapy with the radioactive drug yttrium-90 (90Y) ibritumombab tiuxetan, following chemotherapy with fludarabine and mitoxantrone is feasible, well-tolerated and effective in follicular NHL patients.

The study began with 61 patients who received six cycles of oral fludarabine and intravenous mitoxantrone. Of these, 57 (43 with complete response and 14 with partial response) were deemed eligible for subsequent radioimmunotherapy with 90Y- ibritumombab tiuxetan. After that treatment, 12 of the 14 partial response patients achieved complete response.

At a median follow-up of 30 months, three-year progression-free survival among the 57 patients was 76 percent, and three-year overall survival was 100 percent. Grade 3 or 4 hematological effects were noted in 36 of the 57 patients.

"This study has established the feasibility, tolerability, and efficacy of sequential treatment with six cycles of fludarabine and mitoxantrone chemotherapy followed by 90Y- ibritumombab tiuxetan as a front-line treatment for untreated patients with follicular NHL. In particular, the data represent the first evidence of a role of 90Y- ibritumombab tiuxetan after a fludarabine-containing regimen in the treatment of follicular NHL," the study authors concluded.

The findings were published online this week in The Lancet Oncology, and were expected to be published in the April print edition of the journal.

Follicular NHL -- the most common form of lymphoma in Europe and the United States -- accounts for about 30 percent of all newly diagnosed NHLs.

More information

The Lymphoma Research Foundation outlines common forms of lymphoma.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: The Lancet, news release, March 12, 2008

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