Results Of City of Hope Clinical Trial Supports Change To Standard Of Care For HIV Lymphoma

Published: Dec 05, 2014

City of Hope Clinical Trial Supports Change To Standard Of Care for HIV Lymphoma

December 5, 2014

By Jessica Wilson, Breaking News Staff

City of Hope, a comprehensive cancer center outside Los Angeles, today announced results from a clinical trial recently conducted that could change the standard of care for patients with HIV-associated lymphoma. The study showed that HIV-infected patients responded well to a treatment that involved the transplantation of their own stem cells (autologous).

The status quo belief has been that HIV infection rules out the possibility for autologous stem cell transplantation, which is the standard of care for non-infected patients with patients with relapsed or treatment-resistant lymphoma. The full clinical trial results will be presented at the American Society of Hematology meeting on Dec. 8.

“My colleagues at City of Hope have been true pioneers in this field of study,” Joseph Alvarnas, the study’s lead author, said in a statement from the hospital. “This broader trial shows that not only can these transplants be done in HIV patients, but that it is a viable therapy for HIV-associated lymphoma. Ultimately, these results argue persuasively that HIV or AIDS status should not be a barrier to autologous stem cell transplant for patients who meet standard eligibility criteria.”

Alvarnas, who is the director of medical quality and quality, risk and regulatory management at the Hematologic Malignancies and Stem Cell Transplantation Institute at City of Hope, led the multi-center study, which also included researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.

The historical concern for HIV-infected patients, who are 70 times more likely to develop lymphoma than uninfected people, has been that their compromised immune systems would render the treatment ineffective or dangerous. According to the study, however, the transplants were “effective, tolerable and not overly toxic for patients with HIV-associated lymphoma.”

The HIV-infected patients in the study achieved survival rates comparable to non-infected lymphoma patients. The one-year survival among the 40 HIV-infected patients who participated in the study was 86.6 percent. The trial also measured a one-year progression-free survival rate of 82.3 percent. Researchers explained that this was “remarkable” because the patients had not responded to prior therapy.

The clinical trial also demonstrated another significant finding.

“What makes the current clinical trial so useful is we offered something previously done only in centers with very specific expertise and showed it could be extended to multiple centers – even those that did not specialize in HIV,” said Alvarnas.

The result could be the extension of autologous stem cell transplant treatment to more HIV-infect patients throughout the U.S., not just those in close proximity to hospitals designated as HIV-specialized centers.

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