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Sunday 01 September 2002

Rituximab for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas relapsing after or refractory to autologous stem cell transplantation.

By: Pan D, Moskowitz CH, Zelenetz AD, Straus D, Kewalaramani T, Noy A, Qin J, Teruya-Feldstein J, Portlock CS.

Cancer J 2002 Sep-Oct;8(5):371-6

PURPOSE: The median survival for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas relapsing after or refractory to high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation therapy is 6.2 months. In these cases, there is limited salvageability with the use of conventional therapy. The purpose of this retrospective analysis was to evaluate single-agent rituximab as treatment for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas in these cases. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between January 1997 and February 2000, we treated 17 patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas whose disease was refractory to, or relapsed after, autologous stem cell transplantation. Treatment consisted of rituximab, 375 mg/m2 as a single agent for four weekly doses. Thirteen patients had diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and four patients had mantle cell lymphoma. The median time from autologous stem cell transplantation to relapse was 10 months (range, 2-40 months). The median number of prior therapies, including autologous stem cell transplantation, was three (range, 2-6). RESULTS: The overall response rate to rituximab was 53%, and there were four complete responses and five partial responses. Seven of 13 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (three complete responses, four partial responses) responded, and two of four patients with mantle cell lymphoma (one complete responses, one partial responses) responded. The median progression-free survival for all responders was 13 months (range, 6-18 months). Four responders (two complete responses, two partial responses) were re-treated with a second course of rituximab for disease recurrence and responded to further antibody therapy. Rituximab was well tolerated with no serious adverse events. DISCUSSION: Rituximab is effective and well-tolerated palliative treatment for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphomas that relapse after or is refractory to autologous stem cell transplantation.

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