Study Finds New Chemo Combo May be Better for Some Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas, According to the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center

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Researchers say a combination of bendamustine and rituximab may be just as effective and less toxic than standard chemotherapy for indolent lymphomas.

New Therapy for Indolent NHL?

Overall, the response rate of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients to the BR therapy was slightly better than those who received either R-CHOP or R-CVP.

According to the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center, a study published in the journal Blood suggests that patients with certain kinds of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas may get equally good results from a new chemotherapy combination than from the standard drugs.

Researchers at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute in Tennessee compared two standard rituximab-based Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma drug combinations with a combination of bendamustine plus rituximab (BR) instead. The drug combinations were tested on patients with either indolent Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a slower-growing but usually incurable form of the disease, or mantle cell lymphoma, one of the rarest types of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

To test the combinations, investigators picked which standard treatment regimen they thought was most appropriate for each of 497 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients. They chose from either R-CHOP (rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) or R-CVP (rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone). When treatments had been assigned, the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients were randomized to receive either their assigned regimen or the BR combination.

Overall, the response rate of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients to the BR therapy was slightly better than those who received either R-CHOP or R-CVP (97% vs. 91%). Although BR caused more vomiting and drug-hypersensitivity reactions, drug-associated nerve damage and hair loss was lower in the BR group. Writing on their findings in the journal Blood, the researchers conclude that BR therapy is “noninferior” to standard therapy and has an “acceptable safety profile”. (Flinn, IW, et al, “Open-label, randomized, noninferiority study of bendamustine-rituximab or R-CHOP/R-CVP in first-line treatment of advanced indolent NHL or MCL: the BRIGHT study”, March 3, 2014, Blood, Epub ahead of print,

A large German study published in The Lancet last year went a step further and suggested that BR therapy was preferable to standard therapies in indolent Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma because of “increased progression-free survival and fewer toxic effects”. (Rummel, MJ, et al, “Bendamustine plus rituximab versus CHOP plus rituximab as first-line treatment for patients with indolent and mantle-cell lymphomas: an open-label, multicentre, randomised, phase 3 non-inferiority trial”, The Lancet, April 6, 2013, pp. 1203-1210,

The Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center is part of the Cancer Monthly organization. The Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center has been established by Cancer Monthly to provide more comprehensive information on the causes, diagnosis, and treatments for the many different subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. For over ten years, Cancer Monthly has been the only centralized source of cancer treatment results. Patients can see the actual survival rate, quality-of-life indicators, and other key data for approximately 1,500 different cancer treatments. Cancer Monthly provides timely and ground-breaking news on the causes, diagnoses and treatments of the most common cancers including Bladder, Brain, Breast, Colon, Kidney (Renal), Liver, Lung (NSCLC), Ovarian, Prostate, and Rectal Cancers, Melanoma, Mesothelioma, and Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Written for patients and their loved ones, Cancer Monthly helps families make more informed treatment decisions.

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Cancer Monthy
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