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Ann Oncol. 2005 Oct;16(10):1675-82. Epub 2005 Jul 19.

Single agent rituximab in patients with follicular or mantle cell lymphoma: clinical and biological factors that are predictive of response and event-free survival as well as the effect of rituximab on the immune system: a study of the Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK).

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Swiss Group for Clinical Cancer Research (SAKK), Bern, Switzerland.



Predictive factors of rituximab efficacy and its effect on the immune system are still not defined.


Three hundred and six patients with follicular or mantle cell lymphoma received four weekly doses of rituximab (induction) and no further treatment (arm A) or four more doses at 2-month intervals (arm B).


Response rate to induction was 44%. Independent predictive factors for response were disease bulk <5 cm, follicular histology, normal hemoglobin and low lymphocyte count. Factors associated with event-free survival (EFS) were having responded to induction, having received not more than one line of therapy, Ann Arbor stage I-III, high lymphocyte count, disease bulk <5 cm, Fc-gamma receptor genotype VV and receiving prolonged treatment. B cells were suppressed by treatment but recovered after a median of 12 months in arm A and 18 months in arm B. The median IgM level after 1 year was normal in arm A but was decreased to 73% of baseline in arm B. We observed 24 serious adverse events, equally distributed between arms. Ten patients receiving induction only and six patients receiving prolonged treatment developed a second tumor.


We defined the characteristics predicting response and EFS to rituximab. Prolonged treatment results in longer EFS at the cost of a longer reduction in B cell and IgM levels, but without additional clinical toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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