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Treatment for Indolent NHL Subtypes

Indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes progress slowly. They make up about 30 percent of all NHL cases in the United States. Indolent subtypes include:

  • follicular lymphoma
  • cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (mycosis fongoides and Sézary syndrome)
  • lymphoplastic lymphoma and Waldenström macroglobulinemia
  • marginal zone lymphoma
  • small cell lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)

Treatment for indolent NHL ranges from a watch-and-wait approach to aggressive therapy. Indolent NHL management or treatment is highly individual. Your doctor considers a number of factors such as:

  • your outlook for recovery
  • the disease's stage
  • your overall health

If you don't have symptoms and your disease isn't progressing, your doctor may recommend the watch-and-wait approach. You'll get no immediate therapy, but your doctor will monitor you closely for any changes. But having an indolent NHL doesn't automatically qualify you for watch and wait: Some types of indolent NHL need aggressive initial therapy.

Drugs Used for Indolent Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

If you need treatment right away, you'll typically undergo chemotherapy. Doctors commonly combine up to five chemotherapy drugs to treat indolent NHL. Each drug type works in a different way to kill the cancerous cells. Combining drug types can strengthen their effectiveness.

A common chemotherapy regimen is a group of drugs known as CVP. (The names of the combinations are usually abbreviations for the first letter of the drugs used.) CVP combines the following drugs:

  • cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan ®)
  • vincristine (Oncovin ®)
  • prednisone

For certain subtypes, doctors typically add the monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan®) to this mix, either combined with CVP or given later, which can aid in the treatment's effectiveness.

More to Explore

Types of treatment for indolent subtypes

last updated on Tuesday, March 15, 2011

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