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Br J Haematol. 2017 Aug;178(4):561-570. doi: 10.1111/bjh.14731. Epub 2017 May 9.

A randomized phase II study of standard-dose versus high-dose rituximab with BEAM in autologous stem cell transplantation for relapsed aggressive B-cell non-hodgkin lymphomas: long term results.

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Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer, Houston, TX, USA.
Department of Medicine, Baylor College of Medicne, Houston, TX, USA.
Department of Hematopathology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer, Houston, TX, USA.


High-dose rituximab (HD-R) combined with carmustine, cytarabine, etoposide and melphalan (BEAM) and autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) was effective and tolerable in a single-arm prospective study of relapsed aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (R-NHL). We performed a randomized phase 2 study comparing HD-R versus standard-dose rituximab (SD-R) in R-NHL. Ninety-three patients were randomized to HD-R (1000 mg/m2 ) (n = 42) or SD-R (375 mg/m2 ) (n = 51) administered on post-transplant days +1 and +8, using a Bayesian adaptive algorithm. The 2 treatment arms were balanced in regards to patient demographic and clinical characteristics. At a median follow-up of 7·92 years, the 5-year disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) were 40% and 48%, respectively. We found no statistically significant differences between HD-R and SD-R in 5-year DFS (36% vs. 43%; P = 0·205) and OS (43% vs. 52%; P = 0·392). In multivariate analyses, only disease status before ASCT [residual disease versus complete remission (CR)] (hazard ratio [HR] 1·79, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1·08-2·95) and number of prior treatments received (>2 vs. ≤2 lines of treatment) (HR 1·89, 95% CI: 1·13-3·18) were associated with worse DFS and OS. Patients who had SCT while in CR or who received ≤2 lines of treatment prior to SCT had better 5-year OS (57% vs. 35%; P = 0·02 and 54% vs. 30%, P = 0·001, respectively) in both arms. No differences in engraftments or adverse events were noted in the 2 arms. When combined with BEAM and ASCT in relapsed aggressive B-cell NHL, HD-R provided no DFS or OS advantage over SD-R. In patients who have been exposed to rituximab in the frontline or salvage setting, the addition of rituximab in the peri-transplant setting remains controversial.


autologous transplant; carmustine, cytarabine, etoposide and melphalan; non-Hodgkin lymphoma; rituximab

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