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Tuesday 01 February 2005

Effect of single-agent rituximab given at the standard schedule or as prolonged treatment in patients with mantle cell lymphoma: a study of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK).

By: Ghielmini M, Schmitz SF, Cogliatti S, Bertoni F, Waltzer U, Fey MF, Betticher DC, Schefer H, Pichert G, Stahel R, Ketterer N, Bargetzi M, Cerny T; Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research.

J Clin Oncol 2005 Feb 1;23(4):705-11

PURPOSE: To evaluate the effect of single-agent rituximab given at the standard or a prolonged schedule in patients with newly diagnosed, or refractory or relapsed mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). PATIENTS AND METHODS: After induction treatment with the standard schedule (375 mg/m2 weekly x 4), patients who were responding or who had stable disease at week 12 from the start of treatment were randomly assigned to no further treatment (arm A) or prolonged rituximab administration (375 mg/m2) every 8 weeks for four times (arm B). RESULTS: The trial enrolled 104 patients. After induction, clinical response was 27% with 2% complete responses. Among patients with detectable t(11;14)-positive cells in blood and bone marrow at baseline, four of 20, and one of 14, respectively, became polymerase chain-reaction-negative after induction. Anemia was the only adverse predictor of response in the multivariate analysis. After a median follow-up of 29 months, response rate and duration of response were not significantly different between the two schedules in 61 randomly assigned patients. Median event-free survival (EFS) was 6 months in arm A versus 12 months in arm B; the difference was not significant (P = .1). Prolonged treatment seemed to improve EFS in the subgroup of pretreated patients (5 months in arm A v 11 months in arm B; P = .04). Thirteen percent of patients in arm A and 9% in arm B presented with grade 3 to 4 hematologic toxicity. CONCLUSION: Single-agent rituximab is active in MCL, but the addition of four single doses at 8-week intervals does not seem to significantly improve response rate, duration of response, or EFS after treatment with the standard schedule.

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