"Nuclear medicine has a growing role in treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma," said SNM member Richard L. Wahl, M.D., director of nuclear medicine/PET at the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science. "When nuclear medicine is used earlier in the course of the illness, there is a higher efficacy of treatment," he added. In "An Update of Complete Response Durability Following Tositumomab and Iodine I-131 Tositumomab (the Bexxar Therapeutic Regimen) in a Pivotal Study of Patients (PTS) Refractory to Their Last Chemotherapy," the findings suggest "that we may have changed the course of the disease," said Wahl.
According to the results of that 2001 "pivotal" study, 60 patients, who had been previously treated with and had failed to respond or responded poorly to multiple types of chemotherapy--and whose tumors had recurred--received a single course of treatment with a radioactive antibody or "smart drug" injected into the bloodstream that targets and kills cancer cells, he explained. Of those patients, 65 percent responded to treatment; 20 percent had complete response or no evidence of remaining cancer. In the initial report, those complete responders were over 47 months. Four years later, the update study revealed that those patients who achieved a complete response had "an enduring response," noted Wahl, indicating that "while we can't say the patients are 'cured,' they have lived without the disease recurring for a substantial period of their lives."
With the therapeutic regimen, a patient receives an injected test dose of the antitumor monoclonal antibody-- tositumomab and iodine I-131 tositumomab--to determine how his or her body processes that tagged antibody. Nuclear medicine imaging scans assess
Contact: Maryann Verrillo
Society of Nuclear Medicine