“Outstanding” Phase III Results for New Immunotherapeutic Agent (Rituximab) for Children and Adolescents with Advanced Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Published in NEJM

The excellent results of the Phase III international pediatric study, Inter-B-NHL ritux 2010, have been published in the June 4, 2020 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article is titled” Rituximab for High-Risk, Mature B-Cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in Children.” This academic trial involved two international cooperative groups: the European Intergroup for Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (EICNHL) and the Children's Oncology Group (COG). The trial sponsors were the Comprehensive Cancer Centre Gustave Roussy (for countries in Europe and Asia) and COG (for Australia, Canada, and the United States) and included a partnership with Roche. The trial establishes a new standard treatment with an improved cure rate for children with advanced non-Hodgkin lymphoma, mainly Burkitt lymphoma. It supports the value of an immunotherapeutic agent, which was authorized in March 2020 by the European Commission for the treatment of a rare childhood cancer. "With a three-year survival rate exceeding 95%, these results are outstanding. This study changes the international treatment bench-mark in young patients with advanced B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma,” declared Dr. Véronique Minard-Colin, pediatrician at the Gustave Roussy Department of Child and Adolescent Oncology in France, who coordinated this major international trial with Dr. Thomas G. Gross currently at Children's Hospital Colorado in the United States. The management of children with Burkitt lymphoma has improved considerably over recent decades. Cure rates have risen from 30% in the 1980s to higher than 85% with chemotherapy alone (LMB/Laboratory of Molecular Biology protocol) with no major late sequelae associated with the medication or the disease. This conventional LMB treatment was established more than 30 years ago by Dr. Catherine Patte, pediatric oncologist at Gustave Roussy and her French collaborators. However, despite this advance, about 15% of children continued to die of this condition.
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