April 11, 2011

New Chemo for Elderly Patients

(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Lymphoma is often difficult to treat in elderly patients because they cannot always tolerate chemotherapy. Now, a new study reveals a modified treatment approach may be an option for these patients.

The new approach uses a decreased dose of conventional chemotherapy combined with a standard dose of the drug rituximab. Between 2006 and 2009, 150 patients over 80 years of age were enrolled from 38 centers across France and Belgium. The patients all had diffuse B-cell lymphoma, which is a common cancer in the elderly. They were given six cycles of the modified therapy -- known as R-miniCHOP -- at three-week intervals.

Results showed the median overall survival was 29 months, and the two-year overall survival rate was 59 percent. The researchers say the R-miniCHOP regimen was well-tolerated, as the full planned dose was achieved in 72 percent of patients. They say these findings suggest that a large proportion of patients older than age 80 can be cured of B-cell lymphoma.

"R-miniCHOP offers a good compromise between efficacy and safety"¦and should be the standard treatment for patients older than 80 years who have diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and a good performance status," the researchers were quoted as saying.

SOURCE: Lancet Oncology, April 7, 2011