Statins have no impact on follicular lymphoma prognosis

Blood cancers

30 Mar 2016

Statins have no impact on the prognosis of patients with follicular lymphoma who are being treated with immunochemotherapy, according to the results of an exploratory study.

In research published in the American Journal of Hematology the authors including Professor John Seymour from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne found statins had no significant effect on response rate or survival in 1135 participants in the international PRIMA phase III study.

The findings remained after adjusting for potential confounding factors such as age and gender.

Statins were first suspected to have an adverse effect on prognosis following data from in vitro studies showing the cholesterol lowering drugs impaired anti-CD20 antibody binding, the researchers noted.

However accumulating evidence had suggested that statins had an anti-tumour effect in addition to their proven benefits on cardiovascular outcomes.

“As with other subtypes of NHL, the use of statins in patients with FL in the rituximab era appeared safe and was not associated with an inferior outcome as initially suggested by in vitro experiments,” the research team concluded. 

All patients involved in the study had stage II, III, or IV disease with at least one high tumour burden criterion and required immediate treatment for FL.

They were treated with a rituximab-containing immuno-chemotherapy regimen at induction (mainly R-CHOP or R-CVP therapy) and, in case of response, were further randomized between observation and rituximab maintenance for 2 years.

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