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Saturday 01 December 2001

Rituximab as in vivo purging agent in autologous stem cell transplantation for relapsed B-NHL.

By: Hess G, Flohr T, Derigs HG.

Ann Hematol 2002;81 Suppl 2:S54-5

In vivo purging may avoid relapse after high dose therapy (HDT) for relapsed lymphoma. Therefore, we have evaluated feasibility and efficacy of Rituximab as in vivo purging agent included into a sequential salvage protocol for CD20+ B-NHL in chemosensitive relapse or induction failure. Thirty seven patients were treated within this protocol and in 36/37 a stem cell product could be acquired with rare NHL contamination. Overall, due to the intensity of treatment there has been a substantial morbidity, including high rates of viral reactivation. However, only one patient died during treatment due to sepsis. Response rates were favourable with an overall response rate of 97% (with 30/35CR). With a maximum follow up of 3.5 years, 15 patients relapsed. Overall, the treatment protocol has proven feasible with high purging efficiency and encouraging remission rates in this unfavourable patient group.

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