Obinutuzumab with bendamustine for people with follicular lymphoma who do not respond to rituximab

Obinutuzumab plus bendamustine routinely available on the NHS for people with follicular lymphoma who have not responded to rituximab.

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has recommended that obinutuzumab plus bendamustine should be available on the NHS for people with follicular lymphoma who do not respond to rituximab therapy or whose lymphoma gets worse (progresses) within 6 months of having rituximab therapy.

Obinutuzumab is an antibody therapy that binds to a protein on the surface of B lymphocytes (the cells that are abnormal in follicular lymphoma). This attracts cells of the immune system, which destroy the B lymphocytes.

Obinutuzumab is given in combination with chemotherapy. For people with follicular lymphoma who do not respond to rituximab, it is given with a chemotherapy drug called bendamustine. You have six cycles of obinutuzumab plus bendamustine. If you respond to this, you go on to have maintenance therapy with obinutuzumab on its own every 2 months for up to 2 years.

The combination of obinutuzumab plus bendamustine is already available on the NHS in Scotland. In England and Wales, it was available on the NHS for a limited time via the Cancer Drugs Fund. NICE’s decision means it will now be routinely available on the NHS throughout the UK.

3 April 2020