Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that has demonstrated efficacy in patients with various lymphoid malignancies, including indolent and aggressive forms of B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). While the optimal use of the drug in many clinical settings has yet to be clarified, two pivotal trials have established rituximab as a viable treatment option in patients with relapsed or refractory indolent NHL, and as a standard first-line treatment option when combined with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) chemotherapy in elderly patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (the most common type of aggressive NHL). The former was a noncomparative trial in relapsed indolent NHL (follicular and small lymphocytic subtypes) with clinical responses achieved in about half of patients treated with rituximab 375 mg/m2 intravenously once weekly for 4 weeks, which was similar to some of the most encouraging results reported with traditional chemotherapeutic agents. The latter was a randomized comparison of eight cycles of CHOP plus rituximab 375 mg/m2 intravenously (one dose per cycle) versus CHOP alone in previously untreated elderly patients (60 to 80 years of age) with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. In this pivotal trial, 2-year event-free and overall survival were significantly higher with rituximab plus CHOP, and there was no increase in clinically significant adverse effects compared with CHOP alone.
American Journal of Cancer – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 10, 2012
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