NICE has published a recommendation for obinutuzimab (Gazyvaro) to be considered as part of first-line treatment for advanced follicular lymphoma - but only in higher risk cases. This treatment is likely to become available on the NHS over the next few months.
This recommendation is welcome news after the Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) decided not to recommend this use of obinutuzimab on the NHS in Scotland.
Rituximab in combination with chemotherapy is standard treatment for people with advanced follicular lymphoma who need to start treatment. Obinutuzumab is a newer antibody that targets CD20, the same target as rituximab.
Last year, we reported on GALLIUM, a pivotal clinical trial comparing the two antibodies in combination with chemotherapy for people with untreated advanced-stage follicular lymphoma. The trial reported that there is a small increase in progression-free survival (time without the lymphoma getting worse) with obinutuzimab compared with rituximab, but this may come with more side effects.
Some people with follicular lymphoma have risk factors that make their lymphoma more likely to get worse soon after treatment. Obinutuzimab may be particularly effective for these people. NICE’s recommendation is that obinutuzimab should be considered instead of rituximab for people with risk factors suggesting they are at moderate to high risk.
‘This is welcome news as the approval gives higher risk patients more treatment options,’ said Jonathan Pearce, Lymphoma Association chief executive.