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Re-Treatment of Relapsed Indolent B-Cell Lymphoma With Rituximab


The purpose of this study was to investigate the toxicity and the efficacy of re-treatment with rituximab, a chimeric mouse human anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, in relapsed patients with indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) who responded to rituximab in the previous phase I or phase II study. Thirteen patients with relapsed B-cell NHL, each of whom was confirmed to have Revised European-American Lymphoma Classification type II, 1–6 histology (indolent B-NHL), enrolled in this re-treatment study. All were re-treated with rituximab at 375 mg/m2 weekly for 4 consecutive weeks. Rituximab re-treatment was well tolerated with no grade 3/4 nonhematological toxicities, similar to that of the initial treatment. No patients developed detectable human anti-chimeric antibody. Partial responses were observed in 5 of 13 patients (38%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 14% to 68%); 6 patients showed stable disease and 2 showed progressive disease. Overall survival rate was 93% at 19 months of median follow-up after rituximab re-treatment. Median progression-free survival (PFS) after the re-treatment was 5.1 months (95% CI, 4.1 to 5.6 months), and the median PFS after the initial treatment was 8.2 months (95%CI, 5.9 to 11.3 months). Although rituximab re-treatment induced prolonged depletion of normal peripheral blood B cells in all patients, no significant decrease in serum immunoglobulin or complement level was observed. In conclusion, rituximab re-treatment was well tolerated, and it may produce a prolonged PFS in some patients with indolent B-cell NHL who showed initial response to rituximab.

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Correspondence to Tadahiko Igarashi or Tomoko Ohtsu or Hirofumi Fujii or Yasutsuna Sasaki or Yasuo Morishima or Michinori Ogura or Yoshitoyo Kagami or Tomohiro Kinoshita or Masaharu Kasai or Yoshio Kiyama or Yukio Kobayashi or Kensei Tobinai.

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Igarashi, T., Ohtsu, T., Fujii, H. et al. Re-Treatment of Relapsed Indolent B-Cell Lymphoma With Rituximab. Int J Hematol 73, 213–221 (2001).

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Key words

  • Rituximab
  • Monoclonal antibody
  • Re-treatment
  • Indolent B-cell lymphoma
  • CD20