Treatment Tally

CURE, Special Issue 2006, Volume 5, Issue 3

After seven recurrences, a non-Hodgkin lymphoma patient recounts her treatments over the past two decades.

When Wendy Harpham was diagnosed in 1990, she began treatment with what was then the standard protocol, but by her second recurrence she moved to a clinical trial for IDEC C2B8, the research name for the drug later approved as Rituxan in 1997. In each case she either had a complete response, meaning disappearance of disease for at least three months, or a partial response, indicating a decrease in tumor size of at least 30 percent. [Outside of clinical trials, a partial response is defined as a reduction in tumor size of at least 50 percent.] Here is a rundown of Wendy’s treatments over the past two decades.

November 1990: DIAGNOSIS

[Stage 3 indolent non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma]

  • >Treated with ProMACE-MOPP chemotherapy [cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, etoposide, mechlor-ethamine, vincristine, prednisone, procarbazine and methotrexate with leucovorin rescue] >Complete response
  • JUNE 1992: RECURRENCE

  • >Treated with minimantle radiation therapy [radiation to lower jaw, neck and upper chest] >Bone marrow harvest in August 1992 >Complete response
  • JANUARY 1993: RECURRENCE

  • >Treated with interferon until May 1993 >Phase I trial with IDEC C2B8 [Rituxan] >Partial response
  • FEBRUARY 1994: RECURRENCE
  • >Phase II trial with Rituxan until May 1994 >Complete response
  • FEBRUARY 1995: RECURRENCE
  • >Treated with fludarabine, mitroxantrone, dexamethasone chemotherapy until October 1995 >Complete response
  • MAY 1997: RECURRENCE
  • >Phase II trial with Rituxan >Complete response
  • MAY 1998: RECURRENCE
  • >Treated with Rituxan until June 1998 >Complete response
  • DECEMBER 2005: RECURRENCE
  • >Treated with GM-CSF [granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor] and Rituxan >Complete response

CURRENT STATUS: IN REMISSION

  • >Maintenance Rituxan therapy with GM-CSF