New Drug Combo to Aid Follicular Lymphoma Patients


People suffering from follicular lymphoma could soon be offered a new alternative option for treatment, based on the combination of drugs Gazyva and Revlimid. So far, trials have shown great promise and it is expected to be available on the market in the near future.

Roche, long time healthcare pioneers, are calling this new oral drug Galen, essentially a Gazyva (obinutuzumab) and Revlimid (lenalidomide) duo. It is meant for patients that have either had no previous treatment or that showed no response to courses of Rituxan (rituximab) or similar drugs.

Initial results of the trial, funded by The Lymphoma Academic Research Organization, showed a lot of potential, with over 60% of the subjects eliciting a response. Even though the sample size was quite low, with testing done on only 19 cases, researchers are confident that larger scale projects will confirm the findings.

The program took place in France and included participants recruited between October 2012 and January 2014. For 6 months, each patient was administered doses of 1000 mg of Gazyva and either 10/15/20 or 25 mg of Revlimid. Obinutuzumab is a monoclonal antibody that targets CD20 protein, while Revlimid restores immune cells function and helps to improve antibody-dependent cellular toxicity.

Patients presented at least one side effect, though mild to moderate in nature, most common were constipation (52.6%), low levels of neutrophils (47.4%), and weakness (36.8%).

At the three years follow up, the survival rate was 73% and more than half of the participants showed no signs of cancer progression.

Follicular lymphoma is the most common form of slow-growing non-Hodgkin’s cancer with more than 13000 new cases each year in the U.S. alone.