Study Shows Path to Chemo-Free Initial Therapy in Mantle Cell Lymphoma

The Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), convened in December 2014, highlighted the expanding array of novel therapy treatments showing promise for non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients. Covering a gamut of research from expanded analyses of recently approved therapies to promising new drugs and experimental gene therapies, the studies summarized below are just a selection of encouraging clinical results for NHL.

A study combining lenalidomide (Revlimid) and rituximab (Rituxan) for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) patients is the first to demonstrate that a chemotherapy-free treatment strategy may be effective as a first line therapy in the subtype. Currently, there is not a standardized initial treatment for MCL patients; many patients receive standard chemotherapies and combinations of chemo and immunotherapies, but those generally do not result in complete remission. Researchers presented results of a multi-center study of 38 patients treated with a combination of lenalidomide and rituximab for their initial treatment. The overall response rate was 84.2 percent, with 52.6 percent achieving a complete remission. At the time of presentation, 30 patients remained in the study without evidence of disease progression. The study is currently ongoing, but the two-year progression free survival rate is estimated at 83.9 percent.

Researchers on this study included LRF Scientific Advisory Board members Morton Coleman, MD and John Leonard, MD, both of Weill Cornell Medical College, and Sonali Smith, MD of the University of Chicago. The abstract of the presentation is available here.