Phase 3 Data Published in The Lancet Show Bendamustine (Levact®) Plus Rituximab Doubles Progression-Free Survival in Patients

    Phase 3 Data Published in The Lancet Show Bendamustine (Levact®) Plus
    Rituximab Doubles Progression-Free Survival in Patients With Indolent
      Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Mantle Cell Lymphoma Compared With CHOP-R

  PR Newswire

  CAMBRIDGE, England, February 20, 2013

CAMBRIDGE, England, February 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --


  -Treatment with bendamustine plus rituximab (B-R) doubles progression free
survival (PFS) compared with current standard of care CHOP-R (69.5 versus 31.2
                              months; p<0.0001)

  - B-R better tolerated than CHOP-R in study designed to explore simplified
                     regimen as new first-line treatment

- Data adds to growing body of clinical evidence that demonstrates anti-cancer
        effect of bendamustine in wide range of lymphoid malignancies

Results from the StiL NHL-1 study published in the Lancet today show that a
first-line treatment regimen of bendamustine plus rituximab (B-R) doubles
progression-free survival (PFS) compared with the most often used treatment
CHOP plus rituximab (CHOP-R), in newly diagnosed patients with indolent
non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). ^[1]

Median PFS for patients treated with B-R was 69.5 months, compared with 31.2
months for patients treated with CHOP-R, the most common chemoimmunotherapy
regimen used for the treatment of these diseases (p<0.0001). ^[ ^1 ^]

The statistically significant PFS benefit was maintained in the B-R group,
regardless of age and across all subtypes; follicular lymphoma, MCL and
Waldenström's macroglobulinaemia, with the exception of marginal zone
lymphoma, which was non-inferior. ^[ ^1 ^]

The results also represent the first time that a simplified treatment regimen
has led to a superior complete response (CR) rate compared to CHOP-R in a
randomised trial, with 40% of the B-R group achieving a CR compared with 30%
for CHOP-R (p=0.021). ^[ ^1 ^] The B-R group also experienced fewer side
effects to those receiving CHOP-R, with serious adverse events occurring in
19% of the B-R group compared with 29% for patients receiving CHOP-R. ^[ ^1 ^]

Patients receiving B-R experienced less myelosuppression, with severe
neutropenia occurring in only 29% of patients compared to 69% with CHOP-R
(p<0.0001). ^[ ^1 ^] Infections, a challenging side effect of
chemoimmunotherapy, were also significantly reduced with the B-R regimen
(p=0.0025). ^[ ^1 ^] A commonly acknowledged side effect of CHOP-R is hair
loss; however, hair loss was not reported in a single patient receiving B-R
(p<0.0001). ^[ ^1 ^]

"These results represent a significant breakthrough in cancer treatment for
patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma, who in
the past have had to endure particularly aggressive and toxic chemotherapy
combinations," said Professor Mathias J. Rummel, Head of the Department for
Haematology at the University Hospital in Giessen, Germany, who led the study.
"Our study showed bendamustine and rituximab offered a significant improvement
in PFS, and that the combination was better tolerated than CHOP-R. This means
that the regimen, if approved by the regulatory authorities, could become the
new preferred first-line treatment, capable of extending the time patients
battling these malignancies live free of disease."

"The results of this study are very encouraging for indolent non-Hodgkin
lymphoma patients," said Professor John Gribben, Chair of the International
Workshop on non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. "The fact that bendamustine and rituximab
results in fewer adverse effects with significantly better efficacy than the
traditional CHOP-R treatment regimen indicates that this could be a new
cornerstone in the treatment of NHL."

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the tenth most common cancer worldwide and
figures from 2008 indicate that there are an estimated 356,000 new cases
diagnosed every year, comprising two out of five haematological cancers. ^[2]
Indolent lymphomas represent 40% and MCL 3-10% of all NHL subtypes. ^[ ^1 ^]
The estimated average incidence of NHL in 2008 in the European Union is 10.8
per 100,000, with the highest estimated incidence being for men living in
Luxembourg (around 19 cases per 100,000). ^[2], ^[3]

Bendamustine is currently licensed as a monotherapy for the treatment of iNHL
in patients who have progressed during, or within 6 months following,
treatment with rituximab or a rituximab containing regimen. Data from the StiL
NHL-1 study have been submitted to regulatory authorities for their
consideration of a bendamustine and rituximab combination as a first-line
treatment for iNHL and MCL.

                              -Notes to Editors-

StiL NHL-1 Study Methodology

The StiL NHL-1 study was a prospective, open-label, multi-centre, randomised
phase 3 non-inferiority trial, which involved 549 patients aged 18 years or
older, with newly diagnosed stage III or IV indolent NHL and MCL. ^[ ^1 ^]
Patients were stratified according to histological lymphoma subtype and then
randomised to receive bendamustine 90mg/m ^2 on days 1 and 2 of a 4-week cycle
or CHOP (3-weekly cycles of cyclophosphamide 750 mg/m ^2 , doxorubicin 50 mg/m
^2 and vincristine 1.4 mg/m ^2 on day 1, and prednisone 100 mg/day for 5 days)
for a maximum of 6 cycles. Patients in both treatment arms received rituximab
375 mg/m ^2 on day 1 of each cycle. ^[ ^1 ^]

CHOP-R Treatment Regimen

Rituximab plus chemotherapy, most commonlyCHOP-R, is the current first-line
standard of care for patients with advanced iNHL, and for elderly patients
with MCL. ^[ ^1 ^]

About Mundipharma

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About Bendamustine

In 2008 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved bendamustine for
the treatment of iNHL and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and it
subsequently received European approval in 2010 for certain types of iNHL, CLL
and multiple myeloma.

Bendamustine has marketing authorisations in Germany, France, UK, Italy,
Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Poland,
Slovakia, Ireland, Cyprus, Iceland, Belgium, The Netherlands, Greece,
Slovenia, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania and Bulgaria (Levact®,
Ribomustin®, Ribovact®) where it is marketed by the Mundipharma network of
independent associated companies.

Bendamustine is licensed (Levact®, Ribomustin®, Ribovact®) from Astellas
Deutschland GmbH.

In the United States, bendamustine (TREANDA®) is marketed by Teva
Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA) and indicated for the treatment of
patients with CLL, and indolent B-cell NHL that progressed during or within
six months of treatment with rituximab or a rituximab-containing regimen.

SymBio Pharmaceuticals Ltd holds exclusive rights to develop and market
bendamustine HCL in Japan (sublicensed to Eisai Co Ltd) and selected Asian
countries including Hong Kong and Singapore. In South America and Australasia
the commercial rights are held by Janssen-Cilag Ltd.


1. Rummel MJ, Niederle N, Maschmeyer G, et al. Bendamustine plus rituximab
versus CHOP plus rituximab as first-line treatment for patients with indolent
and mantle-cell lymphomas: an open-label, multicentre, randomised, phase 3
non-inferiority trial. The Lancet, 20 February 2013 (online publication, ahead
of print).

2. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma incidence statistics: In the EU and worldwide. Cancer
Research UK. Available at
]. Accessed February 2013

3. European Age-Standardised rates calculated by the Cancer Research UK
Statistical Information Team, 2011, using data from GLOBOCAN 2008 v1.2, IARC,
version 1.2 [ ]. Available at Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
incidence statistics: In the EU and worldwide. Cancer Research UK
]. Accessed February 2013.

Contact: For further information please contact: Lara Dow,, +44(0)7753-579842. Emma-Fleur Hartley,, +44(0)20-7395-7114.
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