Dr. Jonathan Goldberg Describes 2 New York Clinical Trials for Follicular NHL

Dr. Jonathan Goldberg, Cancer Center WestchesterFollicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (follicular NHL) is the most common of the indolent (slow growing) non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas, and the second most common form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas overall. Low-grade follicular NHL is a slow growing but thus far incurable disease that patients tend to live with for many years.

The major goals of follicular NHL therapy are to reduce lymphoma activity thereby improving disease related symptoms and to prolong complete remissions, while limiting the side effects of therapy wherever possible. Rituximab is a highly targeted, well-tolerated therapy against these lymphomas.  Given either alone or together with chemotherapy, it is the current standard of care for these patients. While using rituximab alone has a much lower potential for side effects, the remission rate is lower at approximately 30 – 50%.

I am the local lead investigator of two clinical trials—HOMER and CALGB 50901—being conducted at Northern Westchester Hospital to study a potential new therapy for follicular NHL. 

Although not yet studied in follicular NHL, ofatumumab has induced remissions in patients with similar conditions resistant to other medications. The two clinical trials seek to determine the effectiveness in different settings. Candidates for the CALGB trial are as yet untreated and candidates for the HOMER trial have already been treated with rituximab in the past.    

The CALGB 50901 trial is a Phase II randomized trial comparing the use of 2 different doses of ofatumumab for previously untreated patients with follicular NHL to determine the effectiveness of higher vs. lower doses in patients with low-grade follicular NHL.

The HOMER trial is a Phase III randomized trial comparing the use of single agent rituximab vs. single agent ofatumumab for patients with follicular NHL who have relapsed at least six months after completing their last prior treatment of rituximab-containing therapy. 

The HOMER trial looks to determine whether ofatumumab alone can achieve equivalent or improved outcomes compared to rituximab alone in patients with low-grade follicular NHL who have had at least a 6 month remission following prior therapy with a rituximab containing regimen.

There are additional eligibility criteria for the follicular NHL trials that will be determined by the treating oncologist.  People interested in possibly joining the CALGB 50901 or HOMER study should please call 914.666.1366 or contact us online: http://nwhc.net/home/contact-nwh.

Editor’s Note:  Jonathan Goldberg, MD, is the Principal Investigator of the HOMER trial at NWH Clinical Trials Program. Dr. Goldberg is a medical oncologist and hematologist with the Mount Kisco Medical Group and the Medical Director of Cancer Clinical Trials at NWH, having trained and/or worked at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Weill-Cornell Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He is also a consultant in oncology and hematology for the Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard’s Partners Healthcare system.

The Clinical Trials Program at Northern Westchester Hospital is actively recruiting patients.  For more information about our studies, please call 914.666.1366 or contact us online: http://nwhc.net/home/contact-nwh.

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