When combined with a cocktail of chemotherapy drugs, two monoclonal antibodies, instead of one, appear to offer superior results in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, according to Mayo Clinic researchers working with the North Central Cancer Treatment Group (NCCTG).
At the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), researchers say that adding the targeted therapy epratuzumab to a regimen known as R-CHOP resulted in an overall 12-month survival of 88 percent in 78 patients. While they call that a very good outcome, the researchers were especially encouraged because the survival rate was 85 percent in patients with high-risk disease.
“These results are very good and very promising, and hopefully will be an important advance over treatment now being offered to patients with this cancer,” says the study’s lead author, Ivana Micallef, M.D., a Mayo Clinic hematologist. “But we cannot yet say that is so, since the two different regimens haven’t been tested head to head.”
“Still, we are eager to do a randomized, phase III study because when we compare our results to some other studies of R-CHOP, our findings do look better,” she says. In general, those studies showed a 12-month progression-free survival (PFS) of 67 to 79 percent.
The NCCTG multi-institutional research network is planning a clinical trial that will randomize patients with high-risk diffuse large B-cell lymphoma to either this regimen, known as ER-CHOP, or to R-CHOP, the standard treatment. R-CHOP includes a combination of chemotherapy drugs (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and vincristine), the steroid drug prednisone, and rituximab, a monoclonal antibody.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is one of the most common and aggressive forms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a cancer of the B-lymphocyte white blood cells.
Below is a link to an edited youtube video with Dr. Micallef.