Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment for Indolent, Noncontiguous Stage II / III / IV Adult NHL
Optimal treatment of advanced stages of low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma is controversial because of low cure rates with the current therapeutic options. Numerous clinical trials are in progress to settle treatment issues, and patients should be urged to participate. The rate of relapse is fairly constant over time, even in patients who have achieved complete response to treatment. Indeed, relapse may occur many years after treatment. Currently, no randomized trials guide clinicians about the initial choice of watchful waiting, rituximab, nucleoside analogs, alkylating agents, combination chemotherapy, radiolabeled monoclonal antibodies, or combinations of these options.; [Level of evidence: 1iiDiii]
For patients with indolent, noncontiguous stage II and stage III non-Hodgkin lymphoma, central lymphatic radiation therapy has been proposed but is not usually recommended as a form of treatment.[3,4]
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is diagnosed by a tissue biopsy. If there is an enlarged, painless lymph node, without of an infection, a biopsy will be needed.
To perform a lymph node biopsy a doctor will cut into the lymph node to remove a sample of tissue or remove the entire lymph node. If the biopsy shows non-Hodgkin lymphoma, further testing will be needed to determine the specific type as well as to determine the stage of disease. Depending on your specific symptoms, the type of the lymphoma, its...
Numerous prospective clinical trials of interferon-alpha, including SWOG-8809, have shown no consistent benefit; the role of interferon in patients with indolent lymphoma remains controversial.[5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16]
Standard Treatment Options for Indolent, Noncontiguous Stage II/III/IV Adult NHL
Standard treatment options for indolent, noncontiguous stage II/III/IV adult NHL include the following:
Watchful waiting for asymptomatic patients.
Purine nucleoside analogs.
Alkylating agents (with or without steroids).
Yttrium-90-labeled ibritumomab tiuxetan and iodine-131-labeled tositumomab.
Watchful waiting for asymptomatic patients
The rate of relapse is fairly constant over time, even in patients who have achieved complete responses to treatment. Indeed, relapse may occur many years after treatment. In this category, deferred treatment (i.e., watchful waiting until the patient becomes symptomatic before initiating treatment) should be considered.[2,17,18,19]
Evidence (watchful waiting):
Three randomized trials compared watchful waiting to immediate chemotherapy.[18,20]; [Level of evidence: 1iiA]
All three trials showed no difference in cause-specific or overall survival (OS).
For patients randomly assigned to watchful waiting, the median time to require therapy was 2 to 3 years and one-third of patients never required treatment with watchful waiting (half died of other causes and half remained progression-free after 10 years).
The PRIMA trial compared watchful waiting to immediate rituximab, the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, with or without maintenance doses.
Rituximab may be considered as first-line therapy, either alone or in combination with other agents.
Rituximab alone, as was shown in the ECOG-E4402 (NCT00075946) trial, for example.[22,23,24,25,26]
R-FCM: rituximab plus fludarabine plus cyclophosphamide plus mitoxantrone.
Standard therapy includes rituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, either alone or in combination with purine nucleoside analogs such as fludarabine or 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine, alkylating agents (with or without steroids), or combination chemotherapy.