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CTC well represented at lymphoma conference
29 August 2017
The 14th International Conference on Malignant Lymphoma took place in Lugano, Switzerland in June, with the presence of the CTC’s RATHL trial coinciding with an article on the study being published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year.

With six presentations relating to two CTC trials on the schedule, the conference boasted a turnout of researchers from across Europe, including CTC statistician Amy Kirkwood, trials group lead Laura Clifton-Hadley, and CTC research fellow Beth Phillips.

RATHL, which recruited its first patient in 2008, was a phase III trial investigating whether PET scans can be used to make decisions about treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. 

The standard treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma involves 4 drugs, one of which, bleomycin, can cause lung damage. On RATHL, if a PET scan determined a Hodgkin lymphoma patient had responded well to these drugs after 2 cycles of treatment, then bleomycin was removed going forward. On the other hand, more intensive chemotherapy was given to patients who had responded poorly to treatment. 

It was concluded that removing bleomycin for the patients with a good response to treatment reduced damage to the lungs and was safe, whilst poor responders were helped by more intensive chemotherapy. Presentations at the conference included the confirmation of these conclusions based on longer-term follow-up.

Also represented at the conference was R-CHOP 14 vs 21, a phase III trial investigating treatment of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. This was covered by a poster presentation. 

Beth Phillips remarked: ‘RATHL was one of a number of practice-changing trials presented at this meeting and showcased the breadth of important information that can be gained from large clinical trials to inform lymphoma treatment. This conference also highlighted the growing importance of immune therapies in the treatment of lymphoma.’

The conference programme and abstracts can be found here. More details on both RATHL and R-CHOP can be found on their respective trial pages, and RATHL’s NEJM article can be read here.

Photo: Amy Kirkwood (Lugano from Monte Bre)

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