SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (AP) — Genentech Inc., now part of Swiss drug developer Roche, and Biogen Idec Inc. on Sunday announced positive results from the late-stage study of cancer drug Rituxan in patients with advanced type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
The study examined patients with follicular lymphoma, a cancer of the blood. None of the patients in the study were yet to show symptoms of the disease.
Treatment for these patients usually does not begin until specific symptoms occur or their disease worsens. This study, however, showed that immediate use of Rituxan, followed by continued use of the drug, delayed the need for chemotherapy or radiotherapy and decreased the risk of the disease worsening, compared to standard "watchful waiting" approach.
Previous studies hadn't shown any meaningful benefits to early treatment.
An estimated 65,540 people in the US were diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma this year, and follicular lymphoma accounts for about 15 to 20 percent of those cases. The disease can occur at any time during adulthood, though people are typically diagnosed during their 50s and 60s.
The data were featured Sunday at the 52nd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in Orlando, Fla.