Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rituxin Monotherapy for Follicular Lymphoma

We've been busy, Dr. Jeff Sharman and I.

I have been focused in the last few weeks on watching and commenting on those Patient Power videos from the iwNHL conference. Dr. Sharman has been busy with all of the great research on CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia), explaining it to us in his blog and helping his patients.

Dr. Sharman's excellent blog featured a post called "Rituximab Monotherapy in Follicular Lymphoma" a couple of weeks ago. He hadn't posted anything about Follicular Lymphoma in a while (like I said, there's been a ton of amazing CLL news in the last few months), so I was happy to see it. And happier that I can finally say something about it.

Dr. Sharman does his usual great job of translating research into easy-to-understand terms, so there isn't much for me to say that you can't read for yourself. As he explains, he was preparing a talk about low tumor burden Follicular Lymphoma, reviewing results from 3 major studies, and wanted to share some particular statistics that he thought were relevant.

A few that I thought were interesting:

  • The average time a between diagnosis and disease progression when following watch and wait is approximately two years.  [I thought that was interesting because I started Rituxan exactly two years after  was diagnosed.]
  • In the average patient with low tumor burden indolent lymphoma who starts Rituxan (whether with maintenance or reuse) it will work for about four years before something new is needed. [I'm closing in on five years  now.]
  • In previously untreated follicular lymphoma patients who respond to Rituxan and get total of eight doses, almost half have not experienced any progression by 8 years compared to about a quarter of patients who only get four doses. [This is from the SAKK study, out of Switzerland, which looked at different dosing schedules. I'll confess, it's not a study that I have looked at a lot.]
Dr. Sharman points out that statistics from these studies haven't resulted in a course of treatment that everyone can agree on (he does mention how he uses Rituxan for low-burden FL patients, but thinks there are other ways to sue it, too). But the statistics do raise some interesting points for discussion.


Anonymous said...

In New Zealand the govt funds 6 rounds of RCHOP, does that mean we get 6 years:-)

Lymphomaniac said...

Wouldn't that be nice?