A Cure for Mantle Cell Lymphoma?

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Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a rare disease that has been difficult to study in clinical trials, may be curable in the not-so-distant future, according to researchers from the University of Texas.

Studies conducted over the last couple of decades have provided new clues about MCL, enabling doctors and scientists to better understand the disease.

According to Dr. Michael L. Wang, professor in the Department of of Lymphoma/Myeloma at UT's MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, the cure may specifically have to do with the patient's age and the initial approach to treatment.

"We are within reach of curing mantle cell lymphoma within a shorter period of time, much sooner than we expected," Dr. Wang told Medscape.

Two intensive therapies

For young and fit patients, the two most effective treatments for MCL have been those that include high-dose cytarabine (HDAC) combined with chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT).

"These two intensive therapies have produced overall survival exceeding 10 years. Such overall survival has not been achieved by salvage therapies, such as R-CHOP or bendamustine," Wang said.

Young and healthy patients, Wang explained, can benefit most from primary or frontline therapies used to treat MCL.

"If you mess up with the frontline therapy, you have missed the chance for long-term remission. If you give young, fit patients salvage therapy, their disease will relapse quickly, they will get into a pattern of constant therapies, and they will die from their disease much sooner than 10 years," he said.

Wang's research found that, with proper treatment, younger MCL patients can have a higher survival rate and better quality of life.

"[MCL] used to have a median survival of 3 to 5 years," he said.

Source: Medscape
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