Data published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
BASEL, Switzerland, 2 May 2007 - In a study published today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the innovative cancer drug MabThera was shown to improve overall survival in patients with lymphoma regardless of the chemotherapy regimen used.1 The review further stated that the improvement in survival was seen for the first time in patients with mantle cell lymphoma, a rare, aggressive form of lymphoma.
The study was a comprehensive, systematic meta-analysis review of newly-diagnosed or relapsed patients involved in trials that compared MabThera treatment regimens with chemotherapy alone. The review not only demonstrated improved overall survival with MabThera but also that disease control in the MabThera containing arms of the trials was significantly superior to chemotherapy alone.
"This meta analysis clearly demonstrates the contribution MabThera makes to the management of patients with indolent lymphoma," commented Prof. Andreas Engert, from the Cochrane Hematological Malignacies Group, University of Cologne, and one of the authors of the study. "The results confirm the addition of MabThera to treatment of patients with two major forms of NHL extends patients' lives, regardless of their chemotherapy regimen."
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) affects 1 million people worldwide. It is estimated that 360,000 people die each year from the disease.2 Indolent NHL, representing about 45% of NHL patients, is a slow developing but serious cancer of the lymphatic system.
About the study The study included only randomized controlled trials (RCT) comparing R-chemo with chemotherapy alone in patients with newly diagnosed or relapsed indolent lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Medical databases (Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBA SE) and conference proceedings were searched (1990-2005). The study included full-text and abstract publications. Number needed to treat (NNT) were calculated to facilitate interpretation.
MabThera is a therapeutic antibody that binds to a particular protein - the CD20 antigen - on the surface of normal and malignant B-cells. It then recruits the body's natural defences to attack and kill the marked B-cells. Stem cells (B-cell progenitors) in bone marrow lack the CD20 antigen, allowing healthy B-cells to regenerate after treatment and return to normal levels within several months.
MabThera is indicated for the treatment of indolent and aggressive Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. MabThera is known as Rituxan in the United States, Japan and Canada. To date, patients have received more than 1 million treatments with MabThera worldwide.
Genentech and Biogen Idec co-market MabThera in the United States, and Roche markets MabThera in the rest of the world, except Japan, where MabThera is co-marketed by Chugai and Zenyaku Kogyo Co. Ltd.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the world's biggest biotech company and an innovator of products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people's health and quality of life. Roche is the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics and drugs for cancer and transplantation, a market leader in virology and active in other major therapeutic areas such as autoimmune diseases, inflammation, metabolism and central nervous system. In 2006 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 75,000 worldwide and has R&D a greements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the Internet at www.roche.com <http://www.roche.com/> .
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1 Schulz H et al. Immunochemotherapy With Rituximab and Overall Survival in Patients With Indolent or Mantle Cell Lymphoma: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2007;99(8):706-714
2 Ferlay J, Bray F, Pisani P and Parkin D.M. GLOBOCAN 2002; Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence Worldwide IARC CancerBase No. 5, version 2.0 IARCPress, Lyon, 2004.
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