In a nutshell
This study examined the long-term safety and effectiveness of bendamustine (Treanda) in lymphoma and leukemia. This study concluded that bendamustine is a safe and effective therapy for these patients.
Bendamustine has been shown to have high effectiveness and few side effects for a wide range of lymphomas. This drug is currently used for lymphoma or leukemia that does not respond to rituximab (Rituxan).
Bendamustine is a chemotherapy drug. This type of treatment kills both cancer cells and healthy cells by damaging DNA. As a result, bendamustine treatment may lead to secondary cancers, which develop in 4% of patients. This and other long-term side effects of bendamustine treatment remain under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study involved 194 lymphoma or leukemia patients. 32.5% of patients had chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. 32% had follicular lymphoma. 9.8% had mantle cell lymphoma. 7.2% had diffuse large b-cell lymphoma, and 1.5% had Hodgkin's lymphoma.
54.1% of patients received prior treatment for their disease. Of these, 76.2% achieved a complete response (CR; complete disappearance of all signs of cancer) or a partial response (PR; tumor shrinkage). 23.7% of patients had history of another cancer. 86.1% of patients combined bendamustine with rituximab or another nonchemotherapy agent (7.7%). The average follow-up period was 31.2 months.
82.4% of patients achieved a CR or PR (overall response rate; ORR). 86.5% of first-line-treated patients and 77.3% of salvage-treated patients achieved a CR or PR. 7.7% of patients did not respond to bendamustine, and received salvage chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Of these, 26.7% achieved a CR or PR.
16.6% of patients had secondary cancers or relapse. 10.8% of these cases were new types of cancer, including non-melanoma skin cancer (57.1%), prostate cancer (14.3%), and renal cancer (14.3%). 62.9% of patients also reported infections. The most common infections were pneumonia (28.4%), upper respiratory infection (27.3%), and herpes (15.5%). 52.5% of infections occurred during treatment and 32% occurred after treatment. 3.6% of patients discontinued treatment because of side effects.
The bottom line
This study concluded that bendamustine is a safe and effective treatment option for patients with lymphomas.
The fine print
This study looked back in time to analyze data. This analysis depended on patient charts, and documentation differed between physicians. As a result, the collected data may be incomplete. Also, the original sample size was 248, but some patients were lost during follow-up or did not complete treatment. This further limits this study’s analysis.
38.1% of the new cancer cases in this study (10.8%) occurred after additional treatments. As a result, whether bendamustine treatment caused these cancers is difficult to determine.
Published By :
Clinical lymphoma, myeloma & leukemia
Oct 01, 2017