In a nutshell
This study evaluated the effectiveness of maintenance therapy with rituximab (Rituxan) in elderly patients with newly diagnosed follicular lymphoma (FL). This study concluded that maintenance rituximab treatment improved survival outcomes in these patients in a real-world setting.
Chemoimmunotherapy containing rituximab remains the standard first-line (primary) treatment for patients with FL. Maintenance therapy with rituximab is often given to patients who achieve at least a partial response (tumor shrinkage) after initial treatment. Maintenance therapy is low-intensity therapy that is given over an extended period of time. The goal of this therapy is to delay relapse rather than cure the disease. The effectiveness of rituximab maintenance (RM) in elderly patients with FL remains under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study involved the medical records of 232 patients 65 or older with newly diagnosed FL. Patients received first-line chemoimmunotherapy followed by RM (68.1%) or no maintenance therapy (31.9%; control group). Patients were followed-up for an average of 5.38 to 8.12 years.
The average overall survival (time from treatment patients are alive; OS) was 8.12 years in the no maintenance therapy group. The average OS was not reached (was longer than the follow-up period) in the RM group. Five-year OS rate was significantly higher in the RM group (83.7%) compared to the control group (64.3%).
The average progression-free survival (the time patients are alive without tumor growth or spread; PFS) was significantly higher in the RM group (10.88 years) compared to the control group (3.58 years). Five-year PFS rate was significantly higher in the RM (71.1%) group compared to the no maintenance therapy group (40.2%).
Maintenance therapy with rituximab was significantly associated with a 61.9% lower risk of disease progression and a 53.3% lower risk of mortality.
The bottom line
This study concluded that maintenance rituximab treatment improved survival outcomes in elderly patients with FL in a real-world setting.
The fine print
This study was retrospective, meaning it looked back in time to analyze data.
Published By :
Aug 31, 2018
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