Lymphoma Foundation Canada

Lymphoma Foundation Canada

June 05, 2012 10:40 ET

New Treatment Option for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Delays Tumour Progression With Fewer Toxicities

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 5, 2012) - People living with non-Hodgkin lymphoma received positive news about a new treatment that may change the way this common type of cancer is treated. A trial that enrolled 549 patients with certain types of immune system cancers showed that bendamustine and rituximab worked better and was less toxic than standard treatment.

Patients treated with bendamustine and rituximab lived more than three years longer without their tumours progressing compared with patients treated with rituximab and chemotherapy, currently the most commonly used treatment for the disease.

Dr. Mathias Rummel, lead investigator for this important global trial in indolent and mantle cell lymphoma, presented these treatment findings at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting in Chicago on Sunday, June 3. Based on these results, Dr. Rummel told reporters that bendamustine should be the "preferred first-line treatment for patients with this disease."

"This new treatment allows some patients with slow-growing non-Hodgkin lymphomas to have much longer remissions, greatly delaying the time until their lymphoma begins to grow again," said Dr. Michael Crump, Lymphoma Site Leader at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto. "Patients responded better on this new regimen compared to standard treatment with significantly fewer toxic side effects. When hospitals in Canada are able to start administering this treatment, we should see fewer patients experiencing side effects during and after treatment, and enjoying a meaningfully longer time without the need for additional chemotherapy treatment."

Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphocytes, the white blood cells the body needs to fight infection. Currently more than 32,000 Canadians suffer from non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which accounts for 3.7 per cent of all cancer-related deaths, making it the seventh-highest cause of death from cancer in Canada.

The incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphoma has been rising slowly but steadily in Canada by less than 1 per cent per year, although the reason for the rise is not clear. At the same time, deaths due to lymphoma have been dropping since 2000 by more than 2 per cent per year, most likely as a result of new treatment availability.

Bendamustine has not yet been approved by Health Canada, but it has been approved to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia in the U.S. and Europe. Rituximab is indicated in Canada for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, and Wegener's granulomatosis.

"People with lymphoma in other parts of the world have access to this important treatment - now we want to make sure Canadians do too, as quickly as possible," said Alyssa Burkus Rolf, past chair and current board member of Lymphoma Foundation Canada and a lymphoma patient. "As advocates of Canadian patients living with lymphoma, we are eager to see this new treatment option available to patients so that they may have longer remission with improved quality of life."

More information on the study findings and the ASCO conference/meeting can be found here:!i=1881792142&k=wdKjgtj

About Lymphoma Foundation Canada

Lymphoma Foundation Canada (LFC) is the only national patient organization dedicated exclusively to supporting patients with lymphoma. LFC has its roots in two separate groups founded in 1998 by two lymphoma patients. Upon diagnosis with lymphoma, these patients discovered that no group existed in Canada that could provide patients with the information they needed, or that focused on lymphoma research. The groups merged in 2000 as LFC and since then the LFC has awarded seven research fellowships and helped thousands of lymphoma patients find the support they need to manage their disease.

The goals of Lymphoma Foundation Canada are:

  • To provide education and support for individuals with lymphoma and their support network
  • To fund medical research to find a cure for lymphatic cancer
  • To advocate for the best treatment and care for lymphoma patients
  • To promote further research and new treatments in lymphoma and to promote rapid access to new developments.

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