Epratuzumab and Rituximab Have Strong Showing Against Follicular Lymphoma

Biopharmaceutical company Immunomedics announced that the combination of epratuzumab and rituximab as a front-line therapy for patients with newly diagnosed follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (FL) resulted in a very high complete response rate among the small cohort as well as prolonged time to disease progression.

The company had the combination in the Phase II CALGB 50701 study, sponsored by the National Cancer Institute Study Group, Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB). The findings appear online in the journal Cancer.

The overall response rate (ORR) among 59 evaluable patients was 88.2 percent.

Of these:
- 25 patients (42.4 percent) achieved a complete response
- 27 patients (45.8 percent) reported a partial response
- 6 patients (10.2 percent) had stable disease as their best response.

The estimated median progression-free survival is 3.5 years.

At 3 years, 60 percent of patients remain in remission.

Said Cynthia L. Sullivan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Immunomedics:

We are very encouraged with these high efficacy results of epratuzumab when combined with rituximab in patients with NHL who are naive to therapy. Further development of this humanized anti-CD22 antibody will be an international Phase III study conducted by the Resistant Disease Committee of the International BFM Study Group to improve the outcome of children and adolescents with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

Epratuzumab is Immunomedics' proprietary humanized anti-CD22 antibody. It has shown efficacy as a monotherapy in relapsed FL. Although rituximab combined with chemotherapy has improved the survival of previously untreated patients with FL, many patients are unable or unwilling to tolerate chemotherapy.

Therefore CALGB chose to evaluate the combination of epratuzumab and rituximab as front-line therapy.

Source: WSJ

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