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Br J Dermatol. 2006 Dec;155(6):1197-200.

Intralesional and intravenous treatment of cutaneous B-cell lymphomas with the monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab: report and follow-up of eight cases.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Geneva University Medical School, 24 Rue Micheli-du-Crest, CH-1211 Geneva, Switzerland. katrin.bullani-kerl@hcuge.ch



Rituximab (MabThera); Roche, Basel, Switzerland; an anti-CD20 chimeric monoclonal antibody) has been shown to have significant activity in nodal B-cell lymphomas, with few associated adverse effects. Its efficacy and safety were first demonstrated in the treatment of systemic B-cell lymphomas. Intravenous and subsequently intralesional administration of rituximab have also been reported to be effective and well tolerated in cutaneous B-cell lymphoma (CBCL). The comparative efficacy of intravenous vs. intralesional rituximab in CBCL is not known.


To evaluate the objective response rate, relapse rate, time to progression, and tolerance in patients with CBCL treated with intravenous or intralesional rituximab.


Eight patients with multiple primary CBCL (four follicle centre lymphoma and four marginal zone lymphoma) were treated with intralesional rituximab (six patients; 10-30 mg per lesion, three times weekly for one or two cycles at a 4-week interval) or intravenous rituximab (two patients; 375 mg m(-2) once weekly for four consecutive weeks).


Complete clinical remission was obtained in all cases. The two patients treated intravenously did not relapse during a follow-up period of 18-24 months. Four of six patients treated intralesionally presented a relapse of new lesions at another site within a mean of 6 months after treatment. The injected lesions did not, however, recur. New lesions also responded to another cycle of intralesional rituximab. Tolerance to treatment was very good in both treatment groups.


Rituximab therapy of CBCL appears to have a potential advantage in cases where lesions are localized in sites that are difficult to treat with radiotherapy or surgery and in which secondary scarring or alopecia is likely. Intralesional injections of rituximab allow the use of considerably smaller doses compared with intravenous treatment, with similar response rates and tolerance. However, within a 12-month follow-up period, relapse of CBCL with new lesions at distinct sites was frequently observed after intralesional treatment.

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