A trial of Zevalin as initial treatment for follicular lymphoma (FIZZ)

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Low grade lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 2

This trial looked at a drug called 90Y ibritumomab tiuxetan (Zevalin) as a first treatment for follicular lymphoma

Follicular lymphoma is a common type of non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). If you have no symptoms or enlarged lymph glands when you are diagnosed, your doctor may decide to keep a close eye on you. You may hear this called ‘watch and wait’. But if you are having symptoms and other signs such as rapidly enlarging large glands, your doctor will want you to start treatment.

Doctors usually treat follicular lymphoma with chemotherapy and a monoclonal antibody called rituximab.

Zevalin is a ‘radio labelled’ monoclonal antibody. This means that it has a radioactive molecule called yttrium 90 attached to it. The antibody targets a protein called CD20 on the surface of the lymphoma cells and the radioactive yttrium kills them.

We know from research that Zevalin works well for people who have lymphoma that had come back after treatment.

The aims of this trial were to find out

  • How well Zevalin worked as an initial treatment for follicular lymphoma
  • About the side effects

Summary of results

The trial team found that Zevalin worked well as an initial treatment for newly diagnosed follicular lymphoma.

This was an international phase 2 trial. Everyone was to have 2 doses of Zevalin. Of the 74 people recruited, 72 had their first dose of Zevalin. 55 of the 72 people had both doses of Zevalin. Some people didn't have the 2nd dose for safety reasons .

Overall for 67 people their lymphoma responded to treatment. Of these 67 people, 45 had no sign of lymphoma - this is called a complete response Open a glossary item. After an average follow up of over 2 years, the lymphoma had started to grow again in 21 people. Of these 21 people, 12 had further treatment. So far the others are feeling well and have not needed further treatment. 

The most common side effect of Zevalin was a drop in blood cells.

The trial team concluded that Zevalin worked well as a first treatment for follicular lymphoma.  

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 (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal.  The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. 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

Bayer-Schering Pharma
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle - 1088

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

Cara took part in a clinical trial

A picture of Cara

"I am glad that taking part in a trial might help others on their own cancer journey.”

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