Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Drug prolongs lives of chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients

08.12.2003


The drug rituximab significantly prolonged the lives of some people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of leukemia in adult Americans.

The findings come from a comparative analysis of two completed national phase II and phase III clinical trials that will be presented Dec. 8, 8:00 a.m. PT, at the 45th annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in San Diego, Calif.

The two multicenter clinical trials compare the antibody rituximab plus fludarabine, a chemotherapeutic drug, to fludarabine alone. Rituximab is an antibody-based drug approved for lymphoma. Physicians now use fludarabine alone as the current standard therapy for CLL.



The findings of the two studies show that after an average of 43 months, rituximab plus the drug fludarabine increases progression-free survival by 22 percent and overall survival by 12 percent compared to fludarabine alone.

“The findings are the first of any tested modern therapy to show a significant improvement in overall survival for people with CLL,” says study leader John C. Byrd, a medical oncologist with The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Byrd will present the findings at ASH.

“The results suggest that rituximab is going to be an extremely important drug in the treatment of this disease.”

An estimated 7,300 Americans will be diagnosed with CLL in 2003, and 4,400 people are expected to die of the disease. The disease causes no symptoms initially. Doctors usually diagnose it through routine blood tests; average age at diagnosis is 62. Early stage patients can live 10 years or more, but patients with more advanced disease may live only 18 months to three years.

Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets a protein known as CD20 found on immune cells known as B lymphocytes. Scientists believe rituximab kills malignant CLL cells by causing programmed cell death, or apoptosis.

This randomized phase 2 study included 104 previously untreated CLL patients. The outcomes of these patients were compared to those of 179 similar patients who received fludarabine alone as part of an earlier randomized trial.

The earlier trial, known as Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) 9011, compared fludarabine alone to the drug chlorambucil, the former standard of care for CLL. The results of that study (published in the Dec. 14, 2000, New England Journal of Medicine) established fludarabine alone as the standard of care in CLL patients.

Of patients receiving fludarabine alone in that study, 81 percent had survived after two years, 20 percent experienced a complete remission and 45 percent showed no progression of their disease.

Of patients receiving rituximab plus fludarabine in this new study (known as CALGB 9712), 93 percent had survived after two years, 38 percent experienced a complete remission and 67 percent showed no disease progression.

“That’s a significant improvement,” says Byrd, the D. Warren Brown Professor in Leukemia Research, and a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America Clinical Scholar.

The findings also may cause investigators to re-think the best time to begin therapy for CLL in patients with a high likelihood of developing progressive disease. Older studies showed that giving patients chlorambucil early did not improve survival, so doctors don’t usually begin therapy until symptoms appear.

“This study may cause us to re-evaluate that approach,” Byrd says. “Future clinical trials may test whether giving rituximab alone or in combination when the disease is just diagnosed is beneficial.”

Funds from the National Cancer Institute, Kimmel Cancer Research Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America and D. Warren Brown Foundation supported this research

The CALGB is a national clinical research group sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and founded in 1955 to improve cancer treatment, prevention and detection. The group consists of nearly 30 university medical centers, over 185 community hospitals and almost 3000 collaborating physicians and focuses on leukemia, lymphoma, melanoma and cancers of the breast, lung, gastrointestinal tract and genito-urinary tract.



Contact: Darrell E. Ward, (614) 293-3737; Ward-15@medctr.osu.edu

Darrell E. Ward | Ohio State University
Further information:
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/rituxim.htm

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Nitric oxide-scavenging hydrogel developed for rheumatoid arthritis treatment
06.06.2019 | Pohang University of Science & Technology (POSTECH)

nachricht Infants later diagnosed with autism follow adults’ gaze, but seldom initiate joint attention
24.05.2019 | Schwedischer Forschungsrat - The Swedish Research Council

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

Im Focus: Tiny light box opens new doors into the nanoworld

Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have discovered a completely new way of capturing, amplifying and linking light to matter at the nanolevel. Using a tiny box, built from stacked atomically thin material, they have succeeded in creating a type of feedback loop in which light and matter become one. The discovery, which was recently published in Nature Nanotechnology, opens up new possibilities in the world of nanophotonics.

Photonics is concerned with various means of using light. Fibre-optic communication is an example of photonics, as is the technology behind photodetectors and...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Uncovering hidden protein structures

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Monitoring biodiversity with sound: how machines can enrich our knowledge

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

Schizophrenia: Adolescence is the game-changer

18.06.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>