No difference in immunochemotherapy regimens for follicular lymphoma


Hoping to inch towards a consensus on the best treatment approach or a standard of care for patients with advanced-stage follicular lymphoma, the SWOG cancer research cooperative group and Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) joined forces to see if among a pair of immunochemotherapy regimens, one was better than the other. They presented an abstract of their findings at the recent ASH conference in San Diego.

The Phase III randomized trial involved 526 patients with previously untreated, advanced stage follicular lymphoma. One arm (N=263) received the current, if unofficial, standard of care, six cycles of R-CHOP, while the other arm (N=263) received six cycles of CHOP followed by radioimmunotherapy in the form of tositumomab / iodine I-131, better known as Bexxar.

Grade 4 hematologic toxicities were fairly equal with 36% experiencing them in the R-CHOP arm and 30% in the CHOP-RIT arm.

Researchers concluded that "no statistically significant differences in progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), or serious toxicities are yet demonstrable with either regimen administered in this trial. However, PFS and OS are outstanding with either of the two regimens."

In other words, more research will be necessary to determine the benefit, if any, of adding RIT to current chemotherapy for this set of patients.


A Phase III Randomized Intergroup Trial (SWOG S0016) of CHOP Chemotherapy Plus Rituximab Vs. CHOP Chemotherapy Plus Iodine-131-Tositumomab for the Treatment of Newly Diagnosed Follicular Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

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