Last year in the UK over 60,000 cancer patients enrolled on clinical trials aimed at improving cancer treatments and making them available to all.
A trial looking at treatment every 2 weeks or every 3 weeks for non Hodgkin lymphoma (R-CHOP 14 vs R-CHOP 21)
This trial compared treatment every 2 weeks with every 3 weeks for diffuse large B cell non Hodgkin lymphoma. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.
Diffuse large B cell non Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of high grade non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). For some time, the standard treatment had been a combination of chemotherapy called CHOP. This is the chemotherapy drugs cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin (Adriamycin) and vincristine, which you have once every 3 weeks. You also take prednisolone steroid tablets once a day for 5 days out of every 3 weeks.
Clinical trials had shown that having a monoclonal antibody called rituximab as well as CHOP helped some patients. This is called R-CHOP.
Other clinical trials had shown that it might have been better to have CHOP every 2 weeks rather than every 3 weeks. But doctors didn’t know if it was better to have R-CHOP every 2 weeks (R-CHOP 14) or every 3 weeks (R-CHOP 21).
The aim of this trial was to compare R-CHOP 14 and R-CHOP 21 to see which was better for newly diagnosed diffuse large B cell non Hodgkin lymphoma.
Summary of results
The trial team found that R-CHOP 14 wasn’t any better than R-CHOP 21 to treat diffuse B cell non Hodgkin lymphoma.
After an average follow up of 4½ years the trial team looked at how many people were still alive 2 years after their treatment. They found that for
- R-CHOP 14 it was 82 out of every 100 people (82%)
- R-CHOP 21 it was 80 out of every 100 people (80%)
At 2 years they also looked at the number of people whose NHL hadn’t got any worse. They found that
- 75 out of every 100 people (75%) had R-CHOP 14
- 74 out of every 100 people (74%) had R-CHOP 21
The side effects were similar for both groups. They were
- A drop in blood cells causing an increased risk of infection, bruising and bleeding
- Feeling or being sick (nausea)
- Sore mouth
The trial team concluded that R-CHOP 14 wasn’t any better than R-CHOP 21 to treat diffuse B cell non Hodgkin lymphoma. So R-CHOP 21 should remain the standard treatment.
We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (
How to join a clinical trial
Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.
Professor David Cunningham
Cancer Research UK
Chugai Pharmaceutical Co Ltd
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
Lymphoma Research Trust
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/03/019.