Good News for Mantle Cell Lymphoma Patients and Survivors

I visited my doctor at Penn last week and received another clean bill of health. In just a few weeks I will be officially two years out of chemo and I continue to be in complete remission.

That’s the good news.

Here’s the better news.

When I was diagnosed with lymphoma now almost four years ago (I went untreated for almost two years), the median remission for a patient diagnosed with my subtype of lymphoma was 4-5 years (with few options with recurrence). My lymphoma, MCL, was often referred to as a “poor prognosis lymphoma,” and the internet was filled with scary statistics that left me wondering if I’d reach my mid-40s. And even though my doctor (and others) had told me that the tide had turned with MCL, and that that sea-change was not yet reflected in the medical literature (patients were surviving the disease, they said), it was still horrifying to read some cancer websites which still called my disease incurable.

Well, folks, all that seems to be changing. And quickly.

First, a recently published article in the journal Blood suggests a cure for MCL for patients treated with a very aggressive transplant regimen:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18625886?ordinalpos=2&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

A second study, presented recently at the American Society of Hematology, significantly extends the median failure free survival time for MCL (to 7 years) for patients treated with R-Hyper CVAD (what I had), and is also suggestive of a cure (there is a tail on the survival curve–some patients are almost 10 years out), but only time will tell for that:

http://ash.confex.com/ash/2008/webprogram/Paper7302.html

Keep up the good work doctors and scientists. This is all great stuff. Thanks!!!