A trial looking at Zevalin and chemotherapy for follicular lymphoma that has come back (SCHRIFT)

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Low grade lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 2

This trial was for people whose follicular lymphoma had come back after earlier treatment (relapsed).

Cancer Research UK supported this trial.

More about this trial

Follicular lymphoma is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). CHOP chemotherapy and a monoclonal antibody Open a glossary item called rituximab is the usual treatment. This is known as R-CHOP. Sometimes, doctors use radiotherapy too, but this combination of treatments can cause a lot of side effects.

Having a shorter course of chemotherapy and adding a drug called Zevalin (instead of radiotherapy) may cause fewer side effects.

Zevalin (ibritumomab) is a 'radio labelled' monoclonal antibody. This means it has a radioactive molecule called yttrium 90 attached to it. The antibody finds lymphoma cells by seeking out a protein called CD20 on the cells’ surface. The radioactive yttrium (pronounced it-ree-um) then kills them.

The aims of this trial were to find out

  • how well Zevalin works with a shorter course of chemotherapy
  • if there were fewer side effects

Summary of results

The trial team found that having a shorter course of chemotherapy and Zevalin was a useful treatment for follicular lymphoma that had come back.

50 people had a shorter course of chemotherapy and rituximab. So everyone had

followed by Zevalin.

8 weeks after having Zevalin the researchers looked at how well treatment had worked. They found that for:

  • 12 people their lymphoma went away completely (a complete response)
  • 34 people the lymphoma went away a little bit (a partial response)
  • 1 person the lymphoma stayed the same (stable disease)

SCHRIFT Trial Diagram

For 3 people a complete response may have occurred but this was not confirmed.

The people who took part had regular check ups. At the check ups the trial team found that:

  • 18 people who had a partial response after chemotherapy went on to have a complete response after Zevalin
  • 7 people who had a partial response after Zevalin went on to have a complete response 12 to 18 months later

The researchers looked at the average length of time people lived without any signs of their cancer getting worse. This is called progression free survival. This was just under 2 years (23.1 months).

They also looked at how long people lived after treatment. At 5 years, around 8 out of 10 people (77.5%) were still alive.

The main side effects were easily managed. They included:

  • a drop in blood cells causing an increased risk of infection, bleeding problems, tiredness and breathlessness
  • infections

The trial team concluded that a shorter course of chemotherapy and Zevalin was a useful treatment for this group of people. And the side effects weren’t too bad. 

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

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.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Tim Illidge

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
Schering AG
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/07/038.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

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