Among patients with advanced follicular lymphoma who have not received prior therapy, treatment with Gazyva® (obinutuzumab) plus chemotherapy delays cancer progression compared to the standard Rituxan® (rituximab) plus chemotherapy, and should now be considered an option as first-line therapy for patients with this disease. These results were recently presented at the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).
Follicular lymphoma is the most common indolent (slow-growing) form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), which is a type of cancer originating in immune cells referred to as B-cells. Follicular lymphoma accounts for approximately one in five cases of NHL, and is considered incurable with standard treatment options. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 14,000 new cases of follicular lymphoma will be diagnosed in 2016.
Gazyva, as well as Rituxan, are types of targeted therapies that are engineered in a lab to target CD 20, a protein found on the surface of B-cells. They are thought to produce anti-cancer effects by attacking the B-cells to which they are bound, as well as stimulating the immune system to mount an attack against the B-cells. Gazyva is a novel agent that attaches to a slightly different spot on the CD 20 proteins, resulting in different responses.
Researchers recently conducted a global clinical trial, referred to as the GALLIUM trial, to directly compare Gazyva to Rituxan in the treatment of advanced follicular lymphoma. Specifically, the GALLIUM trial included approximately 1,200 patients who had not received prior treatment for their disease. One group of these patients was treated with Gazyva plus a standard chemotherapy regimen, and the other group was treated with Rixuan plus a standard chemotherapy regimen.
Patients who achieved anti-cancer responses to their treatment, continued to receive treatment with either Gazyva or Rituxan only (remaining on the same agent they received initially). They received treatment with their respective targeted agent for every 2 months for 2 years, or until they experienced cancer progression.
- Complete disappearances of cancer occurred in 23.8% of patients treated with Gazyva, compared with 19.5% treated with Rituxan.
- Three years following initiation of treatment, survival with no progression of cancer was achieved in 80% of patients treated with Gazyva, compared with 73.3% of patients treated with Rituxan.
- Treatment with Gazyva was associated with higher rates of serious side effects than Rituxan.
Dr. Marcus, who presented these results at ASH, stated that “Obinutuzumab-based regimens should now be considered one of the options for firstline therapy for patients with follicular lymphoma.” As follow-up data continues to be evaluated, results may provide more meaningful conclusions in regards to long-term outcomes with the use of Gazyva.
Reference: Marcus RE, Davies AJ, Ando K, et al. Obinutuzumab-based induction and maintenance prolongs progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma: primary results of the randomized phase 3 GALLIUM study. Abstract #6. Presented at the 2016 ASH Annual Meeting, December 4, 2016; San Diego, California.