In a nutshell
This study looked at the effect of rituximab maintenance therapy for mantle cell lymphoma patients who have already received an autologous stem cell transplantation. The study concluded that rituximab maintenance therapy greatly improves outcomes for patients with mantle cell lymphoma.
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is considered an incurable type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. A common form of first-line treatment is high-intensity chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (auto-SCT; using stem cells from the patient’s own body). Even after this treatment, many patients relapse. Rituximab maintenance therapy (therapy to maintain remission) is effective following initial treatments. More research is needed to determine if rituximab maintenance treatment after auto-SCT will improve outcomes for MCL patients.
Methods & findings
240 patients were recruited for this study. 120 patients were randomized to receive rituximab maintenance therapy. Rituximab maintenance was given in 18 doses over 3 years. 120 patients were randomized to be observed only. All patients were younger than 66 years old. The average length of follow-up from auto-SCT was 50.2 months.
The 4-year progression free survival rate (PFS; time from treatment to disease progression) was 64% for the observation group. The 4-year PFS rate for the rituximab group was 83%. The 4-year PFS rate was significantly higher in the rituximab group compared to the observation group.
The 4-year overall survival (time from treatment to death from any cause) was significantly higher (89%) in the rituximab group compared to the observation group (80%).
The bottom line
The authors concluded that rituximab maintenance therapy after autologous stem cell transplantation significantly improves survival outcomes for patients with mantle cell lymphoma.
Published By :
The New England Journal of Medicine
Sep 28, 2017
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