What Treatments Are Available to Slow the Progression of B-Cell Lymphoma Cancer?


Quick Answer

As of September 2015, the most widely used treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is a combination of the monoclonal antibody rituximab and chemotherapy, states the Lymphoma Research Foundation. Chemotherapy typically consists of four medicines: cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine and prednisone. In some cases, doctors also order the medicine etoposide and radiation therapy.

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Full Answer

For B-cell lymphoma that does not respond to treatment or comes back, the preferred therapy is a stem-cell transplant, according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation. This therapy involves two phases. First, the patient receives very high doses of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in an attempt to destroy all of the lymphoma cells, explains the American Cancer Society. This treatment also destroys the patient's stem cells, which are the immature cells in the bone marrow that are responsible for manufacturing new blood. A person cannot survive without stem cells, so in the second phase of treatment, the patient receives an infusion of healthy stem cells, or a "transplant," through a vein. Doctors sometimes obtain these cells from the patient prior to beginning the treatment; in other cases, they get them from a donor with a similar tissue type.

For patients who are not eligible for transplant, clinical trials are often an option. These research studies compare the effects of new medicines, or medicines previously not used to treat B-cell lymphoma, against conventional therapy and are essential to the development of new ways to treat the disease, the Lymphoma Research Foundation explains.

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