Rituximab Maintenance for a Maximum of 5 Years After Single-Agent Rituximab Induction in Follicular Lymphoma: Results of the Randomized Controlled Phase III Trial SAKK 35/03.

Taverna, Christian; Martinelli, Giovanni; Hitz, Felicitas; Mingrone, Walter; Pabst, Thomas; Cevreska, Lidija; Del Giglio, Auro; Vanazzi, Anna; Laszlo, Daniele; Raats, Johann; Rauch, Daniel; Vorobiof, Daniel A; Lohri, Andreas; Biaggi Rudolf, Christine; Rondeau, Stéphanie; Rusterholz, Corinne; Heijnen, Ingmar A F M; Zucca, Emanuele; Ghielmini, Michele (2016). Rituximab Maintenance for a Maximum of 5 Years After Single-Agent Rituximab Induction in Follicular Lymphoma: Results of the Randomized Controlled Phase III Trial SAKK 35/03. Journal of clinical oncology, 34(5), pp. 495-500. American Society of Clinical Oncology 10.1200/JCO.2015.61.3968

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PURPOSE Rituximab maintenance therapy has been shown to improve progression-free survival in patients with follicular lymphoma; however, the optimal duration of maintenance treatment remains unknown. PATIENTS AND METHODS Two hundred seventy patients with untreated, relapsed, stable, or chemotherapy-resistant follicular lymphoma were treated with four doses of rituximab monotherapy in weekly intervals (375 mg/m(2)). Patients achieving at least a partial response were randomly assigned to receive maintenance therapy with one infusion of rituximab every 2 months, either on a short-term schedule (four administrations) or a long-term schedule (maximum of 5 years or until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity). The primary end point was event-free survival (EFS). Progression-free survival, overall survival (OS), and toxicity were secondary end points. Comparisons between the two arms were performed using the log-rank test for survival end points. RESULTS One hundred sixty-five patients were randomly assigned to the short-term (n = 82) or long-term (n = 83) maintenance arms. Because of the low event rate, the final analysis was performed after 95 events had occurred, which was before the targeted event number of 99 had been reached. At a median follow-up period of 6.4 years, the median EFS was 3.4 years (95% CI, 2.1 to 5.3) in the short-term arm and 5.3 years (95% CI, 3.5 to not available) in the long-term arm (P = .14). Patients in the long-term arm experienced more adverse effects than did those in the short-term arm, with 76% v 50% of patients with at least one adverse event (P < .001), five versus one patient with grade 3 and 4 infections, and three versus zero patients discontinuing treatment because of unacceptable toxicity, respectively. There was no difference in OS between the two groups. CONCLUSION Long-term rituximab maintenance therapy does not improve EFS, which was the primary end point of this trial, or OS, and was associated with increased toxicity.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Haematology, Oncology, Infectious Diseases, Laboratory Medicine and Hospital Pharmacy (DOLS) > Clinic of Medical Oncology

UniBE Contributor:

Pabst, Thomas and Rauch, Daniel


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




American Society of Clinical Oncology




Marianne Zahn

Date Deposited:

05 Apr 2016 13:19

Last Modified:

06 Apr 2016 01:31

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