World J Transplant 2015 Sep;5(3):81-8
Narendranath Epperla, Timothy S Fenske, Parameswaran N Hari, Mehdi Hamadani, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI 53226,United States.
Lymphomas constitute the second most common indication for high dose therapy (HDT) followed by autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (auto-HCT). The intent of administering HDT in these heterogeneous disorders varies from cure (e.g., in relapsed aggressive lymphomas) to disease control (e.g., most indolent lymphomas). Regardless of the underlying histology or remission status at transplantation, disease relapse remains the number one cause of post auto-HCT therapy failure and mortality. The last decade has seen a proliferation of clinical studies looking at prevention of post auto-HCT therapy failure with various maintenance strategies. The benefit of such therapies is in turn dependent on disease histology and timing of transplantation. In relapsed, chemosensitive diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), although post auto-HCT maintenance rituximab seems to be safe and feasible, it does not provide improved survival outcomes and is not recommended. The preliminary results with anti- programmed death -1 (PD-1) antibody therapy as post auto-HCT maintenance in DLBCL is promising but requires randomized validation. Similarly in follicular lymphoma, maintenance therapies including rituximab following auto-HCT should be considered investigational and offered only on a clinical trial. Rituximab maintenance results in improved progression-free survival but has not yet shown to improve overall survival in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), but given the poor prognosis with post auto-HCT failure in MCL, maintenance rituximab can be considered on a case-by-case basis. Ongoing trials evaluating the efficacy of post auto-HCT maintenance with novel compounds (e.g., immunomodulators, PD-1 inhibitors, proteasome inhibitors and bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitors) will likely change the practice landscape in the near future for B cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas patients following HDT and auto-HCT.