Rituximab Maintenance Unnecessary in Follicular Lymphoma


An extremely important National Cancer Institute-sponsored study shows that rituximab maintenance is not much better than no maintenance in follicular lymphoma in terms of recurrence.

This study, the Rituximab Extended Schedule or ReTreatment (RESORT) trial, involved 289 patients with low tumor burden follicular lymphoma (FL) who received frontline treatment with rituximab. Then they were randomized: Half received maintenance doses of rituximab every three months. The other half did not receive the drug until their cancer recurred.

The aim was to test the real-life efficacy of rituximab maintenance.

Results indicated that there was not much difference: For those receiving maintenance therapy, there was a median time of 4.3 years before their cancer recurred, compared to 3.9 years for those not taking the drug.

"The study shows that a rituximab re-treatment strategy provides comparable disease control to a maintenance strategy in low tumor burden follicular lymphoma,” said study leader Dr. Brad Kahl, chair of lymphoma research at the UW Carbone Cancer Center. "In addition, a re-treatment strategy is more cost-effective, as it requires about a quarter as much drug utilization. For those two reasons, we recommend a retreatment strategy over a maintenance strategy in this patient population."

The findings were reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Source: JCO

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