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Single-agent rituximab provides extended remission in follicular lymphoma

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Results of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK) Trial 35/98 have been published, and the results indicate potential extra benefits to long-term single-agent rituximab in certain patients with follicular lymphoma, suggesting that some patients may not need rituximab plus combination chemotherapy.

Researchers tested the efficacy of rituxumab in 4 weeks of induction therapy followed by bi-monthly infusions over the next eight months in previously untreated FL patients. At week 12 the subjects were randomized to receive either no further therapy or the extended protocol.

Eight years later, 45% of patients previously untreated who had been randomized to receive the extended protocol after responding to induction therapy were event-free. This, compared to just 22% in the other arm.

At a median follow-up of 9.5 years, the median event-free survival for patients who received no additional therapy was 13 months, compared to 24 months in patients receiving the extended protocol.

Although there was a clear benefit seen in event-free survival times, this did not extend into overall mortality, at least not in a statistically significant way.

Follicular lymphoma

Immunotherapy maintenance

The Journal of Clinical Oncology



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