OK, back to ASH abstracts.
There is a lot of great stuff from ASH this year. I think I've covered the ones that have made big news, but there is still a lot that, to me, is worth looking at.
I already write about a new possible RadioImmunoTherapy (RIT) treatment that was discussed at ASH, and how that was good because RIT is shown to be very effective but is very underused in the U.S. We may lose Zevalin forever.
And yet, at ASH, there were two presentations that had very positive things to to say about Zevalin.
The first is called "90Yttrium-Ibritumomab Tiuxetan as First Line Treatment for Follicular Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. 5 Year Results from an International Multicenter Phase II Clinical Trial." In the U.S., Zevalin is approved for use on patients who have already had treatment, and whose condition has gotten worse enough that they need treatment again. This study reports on a clinical trial (of European patients, from what I can tell) who had Zevalin as a first treatment. The trial involved 59 patients with Follicular Lymphoma of different stages.
After 6 months, 56% of the patients had achieved a Complete Response, and 31% had achieved a Partial Response (for a 87% Overall Response Rate). Pretty good. After 1 year, 26 of the 39 patients who had a Complete Response had not had their disease return. Of those 26, 57% had still not seen their disease return after 5 years (a 40% Progression Free Survival). Overall Survival for the whole group after 5 years was 80%. Most side effects were well-tolerated.
The researchers conclude that Zevalin is effective, safe, and useful as a first-line treatment.
In another study ("Short Course of Bendamustine and Rituximab Followed By 90Y-Ibritumomab Tiuxetan in Patients with Chemotherapy-Naive Follicular Lymphoma (FOL-BRITe): Final Report of Response Rates and Progression Free Survival"), Zevalin was given to patients after they had 4 rounds of Bendamustine + Rituxan. Early research on Zevalin as a consolidation treatment (that is, used right after a first treatment as a way of cleaning up any leftover cancer) lokked at Zevalin after R-CHOP. Since B-R is seen as even better than R-CHOP, it makes sense to see if following B-R up with Zevalin is even better than it would be following R-CHOP.
The study involved 39 patients. After receiving the Bendamustibe, 22 of them had a CR, and 16 had a PR, so the Overall Response rate was 97%. Of those 16 with a PR, 10 had a Complete Response after they received Zevalin.
After a median follow up of 30 months, 71% did not have their disease return. Side effects were well-tolerated.
So, both studies continue to show that Zevalin works well, lasts for a while for a lot of patients, is safe, and should remain an option for Follicular Lymphoma patients.
Now there are some other people who need to be convinced of that.......