Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Radioimmunotherapy
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Radioimmunotherapy for Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) cancer experts use a targeted drug therapy, called radioimmunotherapy (RIT), to treat non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
As its name implies, radioimmunotherapy combines radiation therapy and immunotherapy. It works by attaching radioactive molecules, called radioisotopes (e.g., yttrium-90), to monoclonal antibodies (e.g., anti-CD20 antibodies) to target and destroy cancer cells.
By delivering radiation directly to the tumor cells, this NHL treatment helps limit toxic effects on normal tissues. A common radioimmunotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients is Zevalin® (ibritumomab tiuxetan), which is administered via intravenous injection.
Radioimmunotherapy may be an option for NHL patients with B-cell lymphoma, specifically those with relapsed NHL (the disease returns after treatment) or refractory NHL (the disease does not respond to treatment).
Advantages of Radioimmunotherapy for NHL
For patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, radioimmunotherapy offers the following advantages:
- The CD20-directed radiotherapeutic antibody targets, and then delivers radiation directly to, malignant cells.
- By targeting radiation directly to cancerous cells, radioimmunotherapy minimizes side effects associated with most high-dose chemotherapy regimes.
- Radioimmunotherapy is usually delivered over a shorter period of time (seven to nine days), compared to several months with standard chemotherapy.
Helping You Maintain Your Quality of Life
The most common side effect of radioimmunotherapy is a temporary lowering of blood counts caused by radiation to the bone marrow. This reduction in blood cell counts may cause neutropenia or anemia. Other treatment-related side effects may include fatigue, nausea, weakness, diarrhea and/or skin rash.
Your CTCA care team provides various supportive therapies to reduce these side effects and keep you strong throughout your NHL treatment. Therapies like nutrition therapy, naturopathic medicine, pain management, mind-body medicine and oncology rehabilitation can help keep you nutritionally fortified, increase your energy and improve your overall well-being at this time.
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