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Posted by on Dec 7, 2019 in Non-Hodgkin lymphoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study compared the safety and effectiveness of BCD-020 (biosimilar rituximab) to rituximab (Rituxan) in patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). This study found that BCD-020 was just as effective as standard rituximab, with manageable side effects.

Some background

Rituximab is commonly used in the treatment of NHL. Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody, which works by helping the body’s immune system attack cancer cells. Although effective, rituximab can be costly in many countries around the world. As a result, biosimilar rituximab has been under development.

A biosimilar is a biological drug that is highly similar to an already-approved biological drug. BCD-020 is a biosimilar of rituximab. This means it is similar to rituximab. However, whether it is as safe and effective for the treatment of NHL is unclear.

Methods & findings

This study had 174 patients with NHL. 89 patients received BCD-020 and 85 patients received standard rituximab. Patients were treated for 4 weeks. Patients were followed up at 50 days after treatment.

Overall, slightly more patients in the BCD-020 group responded to treatment compared to standard rituximab (44.71% vs. 41.89%). Slightly more patients in the BCD-020 group had no signs of cancer after treatment compared to standard rituximab (7.06% vs. 5.41%). A similar number of patients in both groups had tumor shrinkage (47.06% vs. 43.24%).

68.54% of patients treated with BCD-020 had side effects compared to 69.41% in the rituximab group. The most common side effects were low white blood cell count (24.72% vs. 27.06%), high blood glucose levels (22.46% vs. 16.47%), and low red blood cell count (15.73% vs. 16.47%). 5.62% of patients treated with BCD-020 reported serious side effects compared to 3.53% in the rituximab group. 

The bottom line

This study found that BCD-020 was just as safe and effective as standard rituximab for patients with NHL. The authors suggest that BCD-020 may help make treatment more accessible to patients.

The fine print

This study had a small number of patients. More studies with larger patient populations are needed to confirm these results. This study was funded by JSC Biocad, the manufacturer of BCD-020.

Published By :

Hematological Oncology

Date :

Nov 14, 2019

Original Title :

Proposed rituximab biosimilar BCD-020 versus reference rituximab for treatment of patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphomas: an international multicenter randomized trial.

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