News in brief: Cost blowout with rising immunoglobulin use; First treatment in two decades to improve PFS  in DLBCL; Vitamin K in diet may reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease 

Wednesday, 11 Aug 2021

Cost blowout for rising immunoglobulin use in SHG

Public funding should be continued for immunoglobulin (Ig) therapy for the treatment of secondary hypogammaglobulinaemia (SHG), the Medical Services Advisory Committee has recommended, after conducting a post market review.

However MSAC expressed concern that there was with very little evidence to support increasing use of Ig use in this small patient population compared with usage of Ig for alternative Ig indications.

“MSAC understood that the increasing use of B cell depleting therapies (e.g. rituximab) may be contributing to the higher growth rate observed for this subgroup,” the review stated.

It estimated that costs would increase from about $15.3 million in 2018- 2019 to about $41.3 million in 2023-2024.

While supporting continued funding, MSAC called for a further review of the efficacy and cost effectiveness of Ig for the population with SHG.

First treatment in two decades to improve PFS  in DLBCL

Polatuzumab vedotin (Polivy) improves progression-free survival (PFS) for patients with previously untreated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) when used in combination with rituximab (Rituxan)- cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone (R-CHP) compared with standard of care treatment, according to early results from a Phase 3 trial released by Roche.

In a press release the company said the POLARIX trial involving 879 patients with DLBCL had met its primary endpoint, indicating that the polatuzumab regimen was the first in two decades to improve PFS in DLBCL compared to the standard of care of rituximab- cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP).

The company said the data is being submitted to health regulators and will be presented at an upcoming medical meeting.

Up to 40% of patients with DLBCL experience relapse or develop refractory disease, at which time salvage therapy options are limited and survival is short, the press release said.

Vitamin K-rich  diet may reduce atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

People who eat a diet rich in vitamin K have up to a 34% lower risk of atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease, Australian research has shown.

Researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Perth analysed data from more than 50,000 people taking part in the Danish Diet, Cancer, and Health study over a 23-year period. They found that people with a higher intake of vitamin K1 food such as green leafy vegetables and vegetable oils were 21% less likely to be hospitalised with cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis.

A higher intake of vitamin K2, found in meat, eggs and fermented foods such as cheese, was associated with a 14% lower risk of being hospitalised.

“Current dietary guidelines for the consumption of vitamin K are generally only based on the amount of vitamin K1 a person should consume to ensure that their blood can coagulate,” said senior author Dr Nicola Bondonno.

“However, there is growing evidence that intakes of vitamin K above the current guidelines can afford further protection against the development of other diseases, such as atherosclerosis. Although more research is needed to fully understand the process, we believe that vitamin K works by protecting against the calcium build-up in the major arteries of the body leading to vascular calcification,” she said.

The study is published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

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