What Is Romidepsin Used For?
A healthcare provider may recommend romidepsin for people who have peripheral or cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Romidepsin is used in adults age 18 and older. Although this drug has not been shown to prolong survival, it may help stop the cancer cells from reproducing and kill the cancer cells. Off-label uses can include treating other forms of T-cell lymphoma.
Romidepsin (Istodax®) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of certain types of T-cell lymphoma (cancer of the white blood cells, or lymphocytes). Specifically, it is approved to treat people with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL) who have already been treated with at least one other medication given by mouth or injection. It is also approved to treat people with peripheral T-cell lymphoma who have already received at least one other treatment.
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that begins in the cells of the immune system. It occurs when cells in the lymphatic system become abnormal. The abnormal cells divide too rapidly and grow without any order or control. Because lymphatic tissue is present in many parts of the body, lymphoma can start almost anywhere, such as:
- A single lymph node
- A group of lymph nodes
- Other parts of the lymphatic system, such as the bone marrow or spleen.
There are many possible symptoms of lymphoma. Some of these symptoms may include but are not limited to:
- Swollen, painless lymph nodes in the neck, armpits, or groin
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Coughing, trouble breathing, or chest pain
- Weakness or tiredness
- Patches of itchy skin or a rash.
There are two basic categories of lymphoma. One type is Hodgkin's lymphoma, which is marked by the presence of a type of cell called the Reed-Sternberg cell. The other type is non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, which includes a large, diverse group of cancers of immune system cells.
Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can be categorized by the type of immune cell affected, which can include T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer cells. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can be further divided into cancers that have an indolent (slow-growing) course and those that have an aggressive (fast-growing) course.
Peripheral T-cell lymphoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma are just two of several types of T-cell lymphoma. There is also a wide variety of peripheral and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. For example, mycosis fungoides and Sézary syndrome are two types of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In general, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma is a slow-growing lymphoma that starts in the T-cells in the skin, while peripheral T-cell lymphoma is a more aggressive form.
Romidepsin has been shown to improve cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and peripheral T-cell lymphoma in people with these conditions. For example, there may be less involvement of the skin or lymph nodes while taking the medicine. However, studies have not yet demonstrated that the medicine prolongs survival.