Saturday, July 13, 2024

Follicular Lymphoma Patients in SUS Gain New Treatment: Lenalidomide and Rituximab Combination Approved

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Follicular lymphoma (FL)patients undergoing treatment in the Unified Health System (SUS) now have a new therapeutic option. The Brazilian Ministry of Health has incorporated the drug combination of lenalidomide and rituximab, as per SECTICS/MS ordinance no. 29/2024. This new treatment aims to increase progression-free survival in patients diagnosed with follicular lymphoma who have experienced treatment failure, disease progression, or cancer recurrence after previously successful treatments.

Lenalidomide is an oral medication that enhances the body’s defense system by reversing the defect caused by follicular lymphoma cells, which impairs cancer control. It achieves this by blocking the formation of new blood vessels, thus inhibiting the growth and spread of cancer cells. When combined with rituximab, a monoclonal antibody that targets specific proteins on the surface of cancer cells, the treatment has shown significant clinical benefits. This combination has been approved by Anvisa for treating patients with previously treated follicular lymphoma or marginal zone lymphoma.

Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options of Follicular Lymphoma in SUS

Lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is caused by the rapid growth and multiplication of B cells in the lymphatic system. B cells typically defend the body against infections and diseases. However, in lymphoma, they cause the lymph nodes to enlarge and function improperly. The disease often affects lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, and groin but can also involve the spleen and bone marrow. Lymphoma development is influenced by genetic, environmental, and immunological factors. Many patients may remain asymptomatic, while others experience symptoms that vary based on the lymphoma’s volume and affected regions.

According to the Ministry of Health’s Diagnostic and Therapeutic Guidelines for Follicular Lymphoma (2014), the available therapeutic options in SUS depend on the tumor’s classification. The disease can be classified into early stages (I and II) and advanced stages (IIIA, IIIB, and IV). Radiotherapy is the standard treatment in the early stages, while in advanced stages, it follows chemotherapy. Rituximab is recommended for symptomatic patients with newly diagnosed advanced-stage FL requiring polychemotherapy. For those with treatment failure, disease progression, or cancer recurrence, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is considered the standard treatment. Symptomatic patients not previously treated with rituximab may receive chemotherapy containing this drug.

Follicular Lymphoma

Conitec Approves Lenalidomide and Rituximab for Follicular Lymphoma Patients in SUS

The National Commission for the Incorporation of Technologies into the Unified Health System (Conitec) assessed the cost-benefit ratio of the lenalidomide and rituximab combination. They concluded that the drug offers a good balance between costs and benefits, providing a valuable addition to the treatment options available for lymphoma patients within SUS. This assessment supports the sustainable incorporation of the new drug combination, ensuring that patients receive effective and efficient care.

The incorporation of the lenalidomide and rituximab combination into the SUS marks a significant advancement in treating follicular lymphoma. This new therapeutic option enhances progression-free survival and offers a favorable cost-benefit ratio. The Ministry of Health’s decision reflects a commitment to providing effective treatments and improving patient outcomes in the public healthcare system.


Resource: Brazilian Ministry of Health, July 05, 2024

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