SEATTLE, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (CTI) (Nasdaq and MTA: CTIC) announced today results of a study published by Esmaeli, et al. online on January 15, 2009 in the Annals of Oncology demonstrating that rituximab followed by single agent Zevalin (ibritumomab tiuxetan) in a front-line setting for patients with MALT lymphoma and low- grade follicular lymphoma that primarily involved the conjunctiva or orbit produced a complete response rate of 83 percent.
Ocular adnexal lymphoma (OAL) defined as lymphoma affecting the orbit, eyelid and conjunctiva is the most frequent primary malignant tumor of the orbit in adults, accounting for approximately 55 percent of all orbital tumors. MALT lymphoma is the most common histologic subtype of OAL, followed by low-grade follicular lymphoma. External-beam radiotherapy (EBRT) has been the most frequently used modality and is considered the gold standard for treating OAL that present with local disease. However, EBRT does not address systemic sites of involvement in OAL in patients with multifocal disease and therefore, systemic targeted radioimmunotherapy with Zevalin might offer an alternative to treating OAL.
"This study demonstrates the potential for Zevalin to provide an alternative to EBRT, the current standard of therapy for MALT lymphoma, which may result in lower ocular toxicity than EBRT and equivalent or better disease control," noted Jack Singer, M.D. and Chief Medical Officer of CTI.
In the study 9 patients with MALT lymphoma of conjunctiva or orbit and 3 patients with low grade follicular lymphoma of the orbit received rituximab and Indium-111 Zevalin and then approximately 1 week later received a second infusion of rituximab followed by single dose of Yttrium-90 Zevalin.
Results demonstrated an initial response rate for patients of 100 percent with 83 percent achieving a complete response. There were no cases of extraorbital relapse, with a median follow-up time of 20 months. All 12 patients experienced grade I or II transient pancytopenia during the first 3 months. Two patients had platelet transfusions, and one patient had blood transfusions due to myelosuppression. There were no episodes of grade III or IV toxicity.
The authors conclude that Zevalin may represent a reasonable alternative for front-line treatment of early-stage extranodal OAL, producing response rates similar to those with EBRT with one-tenth the absorbed radiation dose.
Zevalin(R) (Ibritumomab Tiuxetan) is a form of cancer therapy called radioimmunotherapy and is indicated as part of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen for treatment of relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular B-cell non- Hodgkin's lymphoma, including patients with rituximab refractory follicular NHL. Zevalin is also indicated, under accelerated approval, for the treatment of relapsed or refractory, rituximab-naïve, low-grade and follicular NHL based on studies using a surrogate endpoint of overall response rate. It was approved by the FDA in February of 2002 as the first radioimmunotherapeutic agent for the treatment of NHL.
Rare deaths associated with an infusion reaction symptom complex have occurred within 24 hours of rituximab (Rituxan(R)) infusions. Yttrium-90 Zevalin administration results in severe and prolonged cytopenias in most patients. Severe cutaneous and mucocutaneous reactions have been reported. The most serious adverse reactions of the Zevalin therapeutic regimen were primarily hematologic, including neutropenia, thrombocytopenia and anemia. Infusion-related toxicities were associated with pre-administration of rituximab. The risk of hematologic toxicity correlated with the degree of bone marrow involvement prior to Zevalin therapy. Myelodysplasia or acute myelogenous leukemia was observed in 2 percent of patients (8 to 34 months after treatment). Zevalin should only be used by health care professionals qualified by training and experience in the safe use of radionuclides.
Patients and healthcare professionals can visit http://www.zevalin.com for more information.
About Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) is caused by the abnormal proliferation of white blood cells and normally spreads through the lymphatic system, a system of vessels that drains fluid from the body. NHL can be broadly classified into two main forms -- aggressive NHL, a rapidly spreading acute form of the disease, and indolent NHL, which progresses more slowly. According to the National Cancer Institute's SEER database there were nearly 400,000 people in the U.S. with NHL in 2004. The American Cancer Society estimates that in the United States 66,120 people are expected to be diagnosed with NHL in 2008. Additionally, approximately 19,160 are expected to die from this disease in 2008.
About RIT Oncology, LLC
Cell Therapeutics and Spectrum Pharmaceuticals are the sole members of the LLC, whose sole purpose is to commercialize Zevalin in the United States. The LLC is governed by a Board of Managers comprised of an equal number of members from both companies. Both parties are to equally provide for the future capital requirements of the LLC and share equally in the profits and losses of the LLC.
About Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
Headquartered in Seattle, CTI is a biopharmaceutical company committed to developing an integrated portfolio of oncology products aimed at making cancer more treatable. For additional information, please visit http://www.celltherapeutics.com.
This press release includes forward-looking statements that involve a number of risks and uncertainties, the outcome of which could materially and/or adversely affect actual future results. Specifically, the risks and uncertainties that could affect the development of Zevalin include risks associated with preclinical and clinical developments in the biopharmaceutical industry in general and with Zevalin in particular including, without limitation, the potential for Zevalin to be proved safe and effective for the treatment of additional indications as noted in this publication or any other indication, determinations by regulatory, patent and administrative governmental authorities, competitive factors, technological developments, and costs of developing, producing and selling Zevalin. You should also review the risk factors listed or described from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission including, without limitation, the Company's most recent filings on Forms 10-K, 8-K, and 10-Q. Except as may be required by law, CTI does not intend to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
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