December 15, 2008

New B cell lymphoma therapy is presented

U.S. medical scientists say they've found indolent B cell lymphoma patients respond well to a new three-drug combination therapy.

The researchers from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas said the drug combo also spares patents prolonged and potentially lethal suppression of blood production in the bone marrow.

The drugs -- pentostatin, cyclophosphamide and rituximab -- together provide the same remission rate as other combinations, but with minimal long-term bone marrow suppression, said Dr. Felipe Samaniego, an associate professor in M. D. Anderson's department of lymphoma and melanoma.

The researchers said bone marrow suppression, or myelosuppression, leads to production of fewer red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. When prolonged, it can lead to myelodysplastic syndrome, which comprises several conditions that cause potentially lethal insufficient blood production.

The worst outcome of long-term myelosuppression for indolent B cell lymphoma patients is myelodysplastic syndrome, Samaniego said. In this study, out of 80 patients, none developed MDS. The PCR combination is a very promising therapy for indolent B cell lymphoma.

The study that included Drs. Michelle Fanale, Barbara Pro, F.B. Hagemeister, Peter McLaughlin, Jorge Romaguera, Sattva Neelapu, Maria Anna Rodriguez, Luis Fayad, Anas Younes and Larry Kwak was presented last week in San Francisco during the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.