Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Zevalin Update for Follicular Lymphoma

From a couple of weeks ago, and early publication from The Annals of Hematology reporting on the long-term success of some Follicular Lymphoma patients who had received Zevalin.

A quick explanation if you don't know what Zevalin is:

Zevalin is a type of RadioImmuno Therapy, or RIT. Traditional radiation had limited use on most types of blood cancers, since radiation can't usually hit a moving target, like a circulating blood cell. RIT takes something that tracks down blood cells (think Rituxan) and attaches a small dose of radiation to it, so it can be delivered directly to the affected blood cells.

Zevalin, and other RITs, have had some success, but for a whole bunch of reasons, are not used very often on Follicular Lymphoma patients. Read more on RIT at Lymphomation.org.

So this study looked at 37 Follicular Lymphoma patients who had received Zevalin. As I said, Zevalin works: 34 of the 37 had a Complete Response. Long term, it did its job for most of the patients, though it certainly wasn't a cure. Patients reported decent Quality of Life results, too. I'll let you look at the numbers yourselves.

I think, even with a small study like this which is "outside of a clinical trial," it's clear that Zevalin is effective long-term. I'm not sure this adds anything new to what we've known about Zevalin, and since it's outside of a clinical trial, there are lots of questions about how representative the patients are.

But it's nice to see at least some evidence that Zevalin is still a valid option for us.

I'm not sure this study will result in increased use, but it keeps it at the front of everyone's minds, anyway, which might be about the best we can hope for. Good to remember that arrow is in the quiver.

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