Genentech has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Rituxan (rituximab) as a maintenance treatment for patients with advanced follicular lymphoma.

The approval is based on a Phase III study that showed that patients who used the maintenance drug after being treated with Rituxan and chemotherapy, lived twice as long as those who had stopped treatment.

Hal Barron, chief medical officer of Roche Global Product Development, said that the maintenance use of Rituxan offers people with the incurable disease the opportunity to live longer without their disease getting worse.

Follicular lymphoma is a common type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.