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 ®)
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.