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J Clin Oncol. 2007 May 20;25(15):1986-92. Epub 2007 Apr 9.

Rituximab added to first-line mitoxantrone, chlorambucil, and prednisolone chemotherapy followed by interferon maintenance prolongs survival in patients with advanced follicular lymphoma: an East German Study Group Hematology and Oncology Study.

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  • 1HELIOS Klinikum Erfurt GmbH, 2 Medizinische Klinik, Bereich Hamatologie/Onkologie, Erfurt, Germany.



Rituximab has been shown to be active in follicular lymphoma (FL), both as monotherapy and in combination with chemotherapy. We conducted a randomized trial comparing mitoxantrone, chlorambucil, and prednisolone (MCP) chemotherapy plus rituximab with MCP alone.


Previously untreated patients with stage III or IV CD20+ indolent or mantle cell lymphoma were randomly assigned to either eight 28-day cycles of MCP plus rituximab (R-MCP; n = 181) or eight cycles of MCP alone (n = 177). All patients who achieved a complete or partial remission were treated with interferon maintenance until relapse. Herein, we report the results from the primary analysis population of patients with FL, who constituted the majority of patients (56%) recruited to the trial (n = 201; R-MCP, n = 105; MCP, n = 96).


Rates of overall and complete response were significantly higher in the R-MCP arm than the MCP arm (overall response, 92% v 75%, respectively; P = .0009; complete response, 50% v 25%, respectively; P = .004). With a median follow-up time of 47 months, median event-free survival (EFS) and progression-free survival (PFS) times were significantly prolonged with R-MCP compared with MCP (EFS, not reached v 26 months, respectively; P < .0001; PFS, not reached v 28.8 months, respectively; P < .0001), and overall survival (OS) was significantly improved with R-MCP compared with MCP (4-year OS rate, 87% v 74%, respectively; P = .0096).


The R-MCP regimen significantly improves complete and overall response rates, EFS, PFS, and OS in patients with previously untreated advanced FL, without a clinically significant increase in toxicity.

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