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said the outcomes associated with the Bexxar therapeutic regimen in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients were significantly improved when the drug was administered earlier in the treatment sequence.

The results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The review compared the treatment responses of 1,177 patients from 10 clinical trials in which Bexxar was used as either a first-line, second-line, third-line or fourth-line (or greater) treatment.

"Response rates, complete response rates and associated durations of response to the Bexxar therapeutic regimen all increased significantly as the number of prior therapies decreased," Stephanie A. Gregory, the lead author of the study, said in a press release.

"Durable complete responses were observed in every treatment sequence studied. In addition, the frequency of complete responses was much greater when Bexxar was used earlier. These data suggest that Bexxar should be administered early in the course of relapsed lymphoma for optimal outcome, and not reserved as a salvage treatment."

The median time from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis to initiation of treatment with Bexxar was 40 months. Ninety percent of the patients had stage III/IV disease, 47% had a tumor diameter of 5cm or greater, and 44% had detectable tumor in the bone marrow.

Comparisons of response rates were made between the 540 patients who received Bexxar after at least three prior therapies, 228 who received it after two prior therapies, 226 who received it after one prior therapy, and 141 who were previously untreated.

The differences in response rates, median duration of response, complete response rate, median duration of complete response, and progression-free survival greater than one year were highly statistically significant between each treatment sequence. For example, the complete response rate with Bexxar as a fourth-line or greater therapy was 23%, compared with 46% as a second-line treatment.

Similarly, progression-free survival of greater than one year was 59% for second-line patients vs. 27% for those patients who received Bexxar as fourth-line or greater therapy.