Bendamustine is a chemotherapy medicine that belongs to the group of agents used to treat indolent lymphomas such as Follicular Lymphoma and CLL. Bendamustine works by damaging the DNA in the lymphoma cell so that it is unable to multiply and when it loses the ability to multiply it dies. Unfortunately, this chemotherapy does not know the difference between the lymphoma cells and normal healthy cells in the body which is why you can get certain side effects of the healthy cells in the body.
Bendamustine is given by intravenous infusion which means it goes directly into the vein through a needle in your arm or
through a central line if you have one in place. Bendamustine is given every four weeks either alone or in combination with rituximab depending on your subtype of lymphoma.
Bendamustine in combination with rituximab has been found to be more effective for some patients and less toxic than using the standard chemotherapy combination of CHOP with rituximab for certain subtypes of lymphoma.
Bendamustine may have the following side effects:
• Increased risk of infections
• Lowering of blood counts
• Skin rash
Bendamustine is approved by the TGA and listed on the PBS for the following indications:
• CLL as a first line treatment
• Indolent Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma as a first line treatment in combination with rituximab
• Mantle Cell Lymphoma as a first line treatment in combination with rituximab in patients ineligible for autologous stem cell transplant
Bendamustine can also be used as treatment option for relapsed indolent lymphoma but
Australian doctors have to enrol patients in trials or seek compassionate access when Bendamustine
(RIBOMUSTIN) therapy is appropriate.