"Emerging data from these recent innovative studies confirm the profound activity seen in our early trials combining lenalidomide and rituximab in lymphoma."
Nathan Fowler, MD
“The future is increasingly bright for patients as we move into an era of effective nonchemotherapy treatment options,” commented Nathan Fowler, MD, Associate Professor in the Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston.
“Over the past several years, advances in our understanding of lymphoma biology make it clear that the immune microenvironment, or nonmalignant components of a patient’s immune system, have an enormous impact on outcome and survival,” he noted. “The ability to modulate or augment immune responses to tumor in the presence of a therapeutic antibody has been a longtime goal, and emerging data from these recent innovative studies confirm the profound activity seen in our early trials combining lenalidomide (Revlimid) and rituximab (Rituxan) in lymphoma.”
Dr. Fowler and his team also conducted a phase II study in newly diagnosed indolent lymphoma and observed high overall response rates, with complete response rates achieved by more than 85% of follicular lymphoma patients.
Commenting on the observation that rash is a common occurrence with R-squared treatment, he added, “In our experience, rash was observed in around half of patients. In most cases, the rash was not severe and was managed with supportive care and occasionally a dose interruption.”
Larger studies are underway to confirm the benefits seen for lenalidomide/rituximab in these and other studies, he indicated. The multinational randomized RELEVANCE trial is comparing the R-squared regimen to traditional chemotherapy, and it represents one of the first large-scale attempts to replace traditional chemotherapy for newly diagnosed patients with lymphoma, he said. ■
Disclosure: Dr. Fowler reported no potential conflicts of interest.
The biologic doublet of lenalidomide (Revlimid) plus rituximab (Rituxan) can achieve high response rates and durable remissions in lymphoma, according to a parade of phase II studies presented at the 2013 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in New Orleans.