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New non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment for patients in Wales

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

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It was announced last month that the All Wales Medicines Strategy Group (AWMSG) has approved rituximab (via subcutaneous injection – a five minute injection under the skin) as a treatment for patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) for use within NHS Wales.

Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody therapy, designed to bind to an antigen called ‘CD20’, a protein found on the surface of white blood cells. Rituximab is also available via intravenous infusion (a more time consuming option – approximately 90 minutes). Rituximab is marketed by Roche as ‘MabThera®’.

The recommendation of the AWMSG states that: “Rituximab (MabThera®) solution for subcutaneous injection is recommended as an option for use within NHS Wales for the treatment of adults for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL): for the treatment of previously untreated patients with stage III-IV follicular lymphoma in combination with chemotherapy; as maintenance therapy for the treatment of follicular lymphoma patients responding to induction therapy; and for the treatment of patients with CD20-positive diffuse large B cell NHL in combination with CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisolone) chemotherapy. This recommendation applies only in circumstances where the approved Wales Patient Access Scheme is utilised.” For more information on the AWMSG decision, please click here.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer which affects a key part of the immune system, called the lymphatic system. The most common sign of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is an often painless ‘rubbery’ lump in the neck, armpit, groin or stomach. Other common symptoms include fever, night sweats, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, itching and unexplained chest, abdomen or bone pain.

For further information on non-Hodgkin lymphoma, please click here.