Published on March 11, 2009 at 3:05 AM
The anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, rituximab was approved for use in follicular lymphoma and indolent lymphoma in 1997 for those no longer responding to chemotherapy. In this setting, the objective response rate was 48% and the agent had rare serious adverse effects, generally limited to infusional toxicity. On the basis of earlier trials, the E1496 study, is the first to test rituximab to maintain response to chemotherapy in indolent lymphoma. Observations from this most recent study add to a substantial body of evidence that the combination of rituximab with chemotherapy is a new standard for patients with indolent lymphoma who require treatment.
The National Cancer Institute funded this multi-center, national trial through ECOG, which began in 1997. Trial centers included the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Columbia Cancer Agency in Vancouver, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Northwestern University in Chicago, Stanford University in Stanford and the University of Maryland in Baltimore.
"This study has led to a new FDA indication for the use of rituximab as maintenance therapy in patients with indolent lymphoma," states Dr. Hochster.