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Ann Oncol. 2008 Mar;19(3):553-9. Epub 2007 Dec 13.

The addition of rituximab to CHOP chemotherapy improves overall and failure-free survival for follicular grade 3 lymphoma.

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  • 1Department of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard, Houston, TX 77030, USA.



The benefit of adding rituximab to anthracycline-based therapy for follicular lymphoma grade 3 has not been studied.


We retrospectively reviewed the records of 45 patients with follicular grade 3 lymphoma who were treated with rituximab and the combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Response rate, failure-free survival (FFS), and overall survival (OS) were estimated and a historical comparison to CHOP-only-treated patients was made.


The International Prognostic Index (IPI) distribution was 47% low, 36% low intermediate, 13% high intermediate, and 4% high risk. The complete response rate was 96%. Forty-four of 45 patients are still alive. Median follow-up for the alive patients is 3.5 years. The 3-year FFS rate according to the IPI was 80% [95% confidence interval (CI) 64% to 100%] in low, 81% in low intermediate (95% CI 64% to 100%), and 50% (95% CI 25% to 100%) in high-intermediate/high-risk patient group. The addition of rituximab to CHOP improved both 5-year FFS, 71% (95% CI 58% to 87%) compared with 44% (95% CI 36% to 55%) with P value of 0.019, and 5-year OS, 98% (95% CI 93% to 100%) compared with 75% (95% CI 67% to 84%) with P value of 0.0034.


The addition of rituximab to CHOP provided a high response rate and excellent early survival. Poor-risk patients continue to demonstrate a high rate of failure despite the use of rituximab.

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