Managing Indolent Lymphomas in Relapse: Working Our Way Through a Plethora of Options.

  • Cabanillas F
  • Horning S
  • Kaminski M
 et al. 
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The front-line management of stage IV indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has ranged from the watch-and-wait approach to intensive experimental regimens such as high-dose chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant. With this broad spectrum of regimens to choose from the decision has become a challenging exercise for both patients and oncologists. With the recent introduction of new agents such as rituximab, fludarabine, and combinations based on these, the management of relapsed cases can be similarly confusing. More aggressive approaches such as high-dose chemotherapy with autologous bone marrow transplant and more recently allogeneic bone marrow transplant have also been used. Recently the technique of "mini-allo transplants" has been introduced. It utilizes a less myelosuppressive conditioning chemotherapy regimen based on fludarabine which is immunosuppressive enough to allow engraftment of the donor marrow. Since it is less myelotoxic it is better tolerated, and this has allowed us to significantly extend the age cut-off for allogeneic transplants. All these advances provide us with a more extensive armamentarium, but at the same time they confront physicians with new challenges in choosing from a large and continuously growing therapeutic menu. In this review of the alternative therapies a panel of three expert hemato-oncologists each discuss their approach to the management of a 49-year-old patient with a relapsed indolent follicular lymphoma. Dr. Horning discusses the traditional alternatives available for this patient such as standard chemotherapy combinations or the watch-and-wait approach in Section I. In Section II, Dr. Kaminski reviews the different therapeutic monoclonal antibody options such as rituximab, Bexxar (Iodine-labeled anti-CD20) and Ytrium-labeled anti-CD20 antibody. Allogeneic transplants are increasingly more popular for the treatment of indolent lymphomas because they can provide an immune-mediated graft-versus-lymphoma effect. In Section III, Dr. Richard Champlin reviews various transplant options including autologous, allogeneic and mini-allogeneic transplants.

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  • Fernando Cabanillas

  • Sandra Horning

  • Mark Kaminski

  • Richard Champlin

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