Research Finds First-Line Therapy Response Linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Survival, According to the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center

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Scientists say patients with certain forms of aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma are more likely to survive if they respond well to their first treatment.

First-Line Treatment Response and NHL Survival

The achievement of a complete response with front-line therapy is associated with a prolonged progression free survival and overall survival...

An article published in the journal Cancer and reported by the Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Center sheds new light on the prognosis for patients with certain forms of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Doctors with the James Comprehensive Cancer Center at Ohio State University focused on two specific subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma – myc-positive B-cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma with and without a chromosomal rearrangement called BCL2. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphomas with both chromosomal characteristics are called ‘double hit’ lymphomas and are associated with poorer survival.

But the Ohio cancer doctors say Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients with either myc-positive or myc-positive/BCL2 rearrangements have better survival if they have a complete response to their front-line therapy. Complete response refers to the disappearance of all signs of cancer. It does not necessarily mean that the cancer has been cured, which is known as complete remission.

The study included 49 myc-positive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients and 29 patients with ‘double hit’ NHL diagnosed between 2008 and 2011. The median progression free survival for all study subjects was 16.6 months and the median overall survival was 37.7 months. Patients with double hit Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma survived for a median of 12.5 months.

When they analyzed all the treatment data on these patients, the researchers found that those who responded best to first-line therapy outlived their fellow patients who had to try different therapies to achieve a response. This proved true, even among Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients whose other characteristics were very different from each other.

“The achievement of a complete response with front-line therapy is associated with a prolonged progression free survival and overall survival in patients with myc-positive Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, even after adjusting for type of initial therapy, histology, age, International Prognostic Index, or the presence of a concurrent BCL2 translation [double hit NHL],” the team concludes.

Regardless of which type of disease they had, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma patients who did not attain a complete response had a median progression free survival of just 3.3 months and a median overall survival of 7 months. The original study appears in the journal Cancer. (Cohen, JB, et al, “Complete response to induction therapy in patients with myc-positive and double-hit Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is associated with prolonged progression-free survival”, February 27, 2014, Cancer, Epub ahead of print,

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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Michael Ellis
Cancer Monthy
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