The Video Journal of Hematological Oncology just published a couple of videos on Follicular Lymphoma, featuring Lymphoma Rock Star Dr. Nathan Fowler of MD Anderson.
(I think one of you loyal readers is a patient of his, though I might be thinking of someone in the support group.)
The videos were posted a couple of days ago, though they were recorded at the ASCO conference in June. Dr. Fowler reports on some of the Follicular Lymphoma research that was highlighted at the conference.
The first video is called "Novel Therapies for the Treatment of CLL, MCL, and FL," so he discusses some of the research for a couple of other slow-growing lymphomas as well. But he has a lot to say about FL in particular. He focuses on the long-term follow-up data for the BRIGHT study and the STiL study. Both involved some FL patients who ad not received treatment.
The BRIGHT study looked at Bendamustine + Rituxan, compared to R-CHOP and R-CVP, and the STiL study looked at B+R vs. R-CHOP.. After a follow-up of 7-10 years, the Overall Survival was not different for the treatments, in both studies. It also found that there was not an excessive death rate. This is important, because, as Dr. Fowler points out, a study at ASH involving Bendamustine seemed to point to increased risk of death. Good to have some evidence that goes against that.
The second video is called "Ibrutinib in Combination with Rituximab -- The Future of Treating FL." In this video, Dr. Fowler discusses a trial that he reported on at ASCO. He discusses the combination of Ibrutinib (a BTK inhibitor) and Rituxan, and points out that the Response Rate (around 80%) is higher than it is for either of those two treatments by themselves. The focus was especially on patients who wouldn't be able to tolerate chemotherapy (either because they were elderly or had other health problems), and they will start a phase III trial looking especially at those populations.
The idea in the title of Ibrutinib and Rituxan being "the future of treating FL" might be a little over-enthusiastic (Dr. Fowler doesn't really say that), but it does highlight the trend toward more targeted treatments, and away from traditional chemotherapy (though, as the BRIGHT and STiL trials show, there is still a place for that.)
I want to put in a small plug for The Video Journal of Hematological Oncology. They post mostly short videos (under 5 minutes) from experts in their fields. I sometimes use them as starting points -- they usually give a good summary of research, and then I can look into it for more detail somewhere else. Plus, it's always fun to see videos of researchers who are obviously excited about the work they are doing.