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The Lancet Oncology

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Novel Treatments Demonstrate Improvements in Overall Survival (OS) and Response Rates (RR) in Difficult to Treat forms of Leukaemia and Lymphoma

The use of dexamethasone early in the treatment of children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood cancer, may help reduce the risk of relapse. This is the conclusion from study results presented during the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in San Francisco, CA (December 6 – 9)

Additional research featured during the annual meeting included: the potential role of a combination therapy regimen that includes rituximab as the new standard first-line therapy for the treatment of advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the examination of pralatrexate or 10-propargyl-10-deazaaminopterin (PDX), for the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma in the largest prospective study of this subset of patients, and the results of the first study examining a promising new molecular target for the treatment of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

'By conducting ongoing research with new, investigational treatments as well as with different combinations of existing treatment options that have been used for years, we are working to improve the survival of our patients with leukemia and lymphoma,' explained Dr. Linda Burns, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Oncology, and Transplantation, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. 'The research presented today showcases the great advances we are continuously making in treating various blood cancers.'

Leukemia and lymphoma are two of the most common blood cancers. Leukemias are categorized based on the speed at which the cancer grows – acute leukemias grow quickly while chronic leukemias develop at a slower rate. Leukemias also are categorized as lymphocytic or myelogenous depending on whether they affect lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) or stem cells found in the bone marrow. According to the National Cancer Institute, each year there are approximately 44,000 new cases and 22,000 deaths associated with leukemia in the United States.

Lymphoma is cancer of the lymphatic system that begins with a change in the lymphocytes, impairing the ability of the body’s immune system to fight infection. Lymphomas are divided into two categories: Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Most non-Hodgkin lymphomas are B-cell lymphomas, which are further classified into 14 different sub-types based on the stage of cell development during which the B cell has been affected. The rest are T-cell lymphomas, which affect another type of white blood cell. There are approximately 66,000 new cases of lymphoma and nearly 20,000 deaths each year in the United States according to the National Cancer Institute.

Also read blog entry:
  • Fostamatinib Disodium shows promise in the treatment of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma and Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
  • Dexamethasone can Eliminate One-Third of All Relapses in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
  • New Drug Shows Promise in the Treatment of Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma
  • Immunochemotherapy with Fludarabine, Cyclophosphamide, and Rituximab Improves Response Rates and Progression-Free Survival of Previously Untreated Patients with Advanced Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

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