New research on Preventing Lymphoma Relapse

Long-term treatment with anti-cancer medication Rituxan, produced by Swiss laboratory Roche, can cut the recurrence of follicular lymphoma in some patients by half, a new study said.

A slow-growing form of blood cancer that usually develops in the lymph nodes, follicular lymphoma is one of the most commonly occurring in a group of diseases known as non-Hodgkins lymphomas.

"These findings provide hope for the way we manage this disease," said lead author Gilles Salles of the University of Lyon.

Relapse in lymohoma cases is often a concern, and for years, researchers have not been clear why.

The most widely accepted theory for relapse is that not all lymphoma cells were killed by the original treatment. Other theories hold that genetic predisposition, continued or recurrent exposure to environmental toxins, or unabated or repeated exposure to an infectious agent are responsible for relapse. Interesting research has been done showing that cancer cells can acquire resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs by turning on genes that block the cellular intake of certain drugs and others related to them, a phenomenon called multiple drug resistance (MDR).

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