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Friday 01 February 2002

Bendamustine mitoxantrone and rituximab (BMR): a new effective regimen for refractory or relapsed indolent lymphomas.

By: Weide R, Heymanns J, Gores A, Koppler H.

Leuk Lymphoma 2002 Feb;43(2):327-31

Bendamustine (B) and mitoxantrone (M) have been shown to be potent cytotoxic drugs for the treatment of relapsed or refractory indolent lymphomas. The anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab (R) has produced an overall response rate (ORR) of 50% as a single agent in relapsed or refractory indolent lymphomas. We posed the question whether a combination of the above agents (BMR) could improve these results. This study was an open label, single center pilot study for patients with relapsed or refractory, CD20-positive (indolent) lymphoma or chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. The therapy consisted of bendamustine (80 mg/m2, day 1-3), mitoxantrone (10 mg/m2, day 1), rituximab (375 mg/m2, week 2-5). BM was repeated on day 36 or when the haematological parameters had recovered. The maximum therapy consisted of one BMR-cycle, followed by five BM courses. Treatment was stopped when the disease responded with PR/CR. During March 1999 and December 2000, 20 patients received the BMR-regimen (four secondary high grade lymphoma, 12 indolent lymphoma, four B-CLL). The median age of the patients was 67 years (range 36-82) and their performance status ranged from 0 to 3. Median number of previous treatment regimens was two (1-6). Of the lymphoma patients, 14 had stage IV disease, 1 stage III and 1 stage II. B-CLL patients were all Rai stage IV (Binet C). Overall response rate was 95% (19/20) with seven patients achieving a CR (35%) and 12 patients achieving a PR (60%). Median time to progression is 7 months (1-21) with a median observation time of 7 months (1-21). Response is still durable in 15/20 patients (75%) (1+ to 21+ months after therapy). Symptomatic, reversible grade three or four haematotoxicity occurred in 4/20 patients (20%). Non-symptomatic grade three or four haematotoxicity was seen in 9/20 patients (45%). No major non-haematological toxicity was observed. In conclusion, BMR is a well tolerated, very effective outpatient regimen of treatment for relapsed and refractory indolent lymphoid malignancies.

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