Celgene Corp has presented mid-stage data from a pair of trials which demonstrate the promise of using its myeloma blockbuster Revlimid in combination with Roche and Biogen Idec's big-selling monoclonal antibody Rituxan for various non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas.

The studies were reported at the Malignant Lymphoma meeting in Lugano. In the first Phase II trial in patients with untreated follicular lymphoma, a combination of Revlimid (lenalidomide) plus Rituxan (rituximab) led to an overall response rate (ORR) in 54 evaluable patients of 92.6%. Over 72% of those patients achieved a complete response.

In the Phase II trial to treat newly diagnosed diffuse large b-cell lymphoma or grade 3b follicular lymphoma. Revlimid plus R2-CHOP chemotherapy (rituximab, cyclophosphamide, hydroxydaunorubicin, oncovin and prednisone) led to an ORR in 63 evaluable patients of 98%, and 74% achieved a complete response. The 18-month progression-free survival for these patients was 66%.

Jean-Pierre Bizzari, head of haematology and oncology at Celgene, said that "the increasing volume of clinical evidence evaluating combinations utilising Revlimid plus rituximab provide us powerful insight into the potential of antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity in lymphomas [and] of these novel combinations in patients in subtypes with a poor prognosis".