Purpose: To determine the safety and efficacy of the combination of the chimeric anti-CD20 antibody Rituxan (rituximab, IDEC-C2B8; Genentech Inc, South San Francisco, CA) and cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) chemotherapy in patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Patients and Methods: Thirty-three patients with previously untreated advanced aggressive B-cell NHL received six infusions of Rituxan (375 mg/m2 per dose) on day 1 of each cycle in combination with six doses of CHOP chemotherapy given on day 3 of each cycle. Results: The ORR by investigator assessment confirmed by the sponsor was 94% (31 of 33 patients). Twenty patients experienced a complete response (CR) (61%), 11 patients had a partial response (PR) (33%), and two patients were classified as having progressive disease. In the 18 patients with an International Prognostic Index (IPI) score ≥ 2, the combination of Rituxan plus CHOP achieved an ORR of 89% and CR of 56%. The median duration of response and time to progression had not been reached after a median observation time of 26 months. Twenty-nine of 31 responding patients remained in remission during this follow-up period, including 15 of 16 patients with an IPI score ≥ 2. The most frequent adverse events attributed to Rituxan were fever and chills, primarily during the first infusion. Rituxan did not seem to compromise the ability of patients to tolerate CHOP; all patients completed the entire six courses of the combination. The bcl-2 translocation of blood or bone marrow was positive at baseline in 13 patients; 11 patients had follow-up specimens obtained (eight CR, three PR), and all had a negative bcl-2 status after therapy. Only one patient has reconverted to bcl-2 positivity, and all patients remain in clinical remission. Conclusion: This is the first report to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the Rituxan chimeric anti-CD20 antibody in combination with standard-dose CHOP in the treatment of aggressive B-cell lymphoma. The clinical responses are at least comparable to those achieved with CHOP alone with no significant added toxicity. The presence or absence of the bcl-2 translocation did not affect the ability of patients to achieve a CR with this regimen. The ability to achieve sustained remissions in patients with an IPI score ≥ 2 warrants further investigation with a randomized study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research