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Studies highlight role of stem cell transplant procedures for blood cancer treatment
Date:12/6/2010

Historically, researchers at Dana-Farber have found that 60 percent of all cases of chronic GVHD require treatment with corticosteroids within one year following transplant. However, treatment with corticosteroids is not optimal as these therapies are known to cause severe and unfavorable side effects.

To date, a total of 54 patients have been evaluated at 12 months after receiving all prescribed courses of rituximab. The study found that the cumulative incidence of any chronic GVHD was 44.6 percent with only 31.2 percent of patients requiring treatment with corticosteroids. Additionally, only 22.4 percent of patients were on corticosteroids at 12 months, and 50 percent were able to discontinue immunosuppressant therapy. Relapse-free survival was 71.1 percent, and overall survival was 88.6 percent.

"Results of this study indicate that rituximab is a promising therapy for the prevention of chronic graft-versus-host disease following an allogeneic stem cell transplant," said lead study author Corey Cutler, MD, MPH, FRCPC, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. "It appears that the use of rituximab may reduce the need to use corticosteroids by up to 50 percent when compared with what we have used historically. However, these results need to be confirmed in a larger randomized clinical trial."

Dr. Cutler will present this study in an oral presentation on Monday, December 6, at 7:00 a.m. in Room 110A.


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Contact: Lindsey Love
llove@hematology.org
540-538-9326
American Society of Hematology
Source:Eurekalert

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