In a nutshell
This study compared the outcomes of radioimmunotherapy versus rituximab (Rituxan) maintenance therapy in patients with follicular lymphoma (FL). This study concluded that radioimmunotherapy shows similar survival outcomes compared to rituximab maintenance therapy in patients with FL.
In patients with FL, rituximab maintenance therapy is often given after initial treatment. Maintenance therapy is low-intensity therapy that is given over an extended period of time. The goal of this therapy is to delay relapse rather than cure the disease.
Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) with ibritumomab tiuxetan (Zevalin) is an alternative maintenance therapy option. It uses immunotherapy drugs that release radiation directly on the tumor. The outcomes of patients with FL after maintenance therapy with rituximab compared to radiotherapy remain under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study involved the records of 56 patients with FL. 55.4% of patients had relapsed (cancer recurrence) or progressive (tumor growth or spread) disease. Patients received either ibritumomab tiuxetan (64.3%; RIT group) or rituximab maintenance therapy (35.7%). Patients were followed-up for 2 years.
After maintenance therapy, 60% (RIT) and 66% (rituximab) of patients achieved a complete response (disappearance of all signs of cancer). 15% (RIT) and 8% (rituximab) of patients achieved a partial response (tumor shrinkage). 55% (RIT) and 42% (rituximab) of patients experienced disease progression (tumor grows or spreads).
5-year overall survival (patients still alive 5 years later) was 90% in both groups. Estimated long-term (more than 6 years) survival was 83.6% (RIT) and 78.3% (rituximab). Progression-free survival (time from treatment until disease progression) was similar between both groups.
The bottom line
This study concluded that radioimmunotherapy shows similar outcomes compared to rituximab maintenance therapy in patients with FL. The authors suggest that radioimmunotherapy may be more practical for patients due to its one-time application.
The fine print
This study was retrospective, meaning it looked back in time to analyze data. This study did not report data about side effects. Also, the patient population in this study was also quite small. Larger studies are needed to confirm these results.
Published By :
European Journal of Haematology
Oct 01, 2018
If you sign up for Medivizor, you'll receive PERSONALIZED updates that are JUST FOR YOU. Want to give it a try?