UK patients with Mantle Cell Lymphoma have gained access to a new first-line treatment option as Janssen’s Velcade (bortezomib) is now available in the country to treat the condition.

According to the firm, a Johnson & Johnson group, recent clinical trial data show that patients with previously untreated MCL, who were unsuitable for blood stem-cell transplantation, had improved progression free survival when given Velcade in combination with rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and prednisone, compared to the control arm.

Velcade is already widely used to treat multiple myeloma, and its launch in MCL “is exciting as it represents a real change in the blood-based cancer treatment landscape and means that patients with the disease can experience a sustained disease-free period,” said Simon Rule, Consultant Haematologist at Derriford Hospital, Plymouth.