J Clin Oncol 2006 Jul 5;24(19):3121-7. Epub 2006 Jun 5.
Division of Hematology, Mayo Clinic, 200 First St SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
Purpose: To address early and late treatment failures in older patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), we designed a two-stage randomized trial of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) versus rituximab plus CHOP (R-CHOP), with a second random assignment to maintenance rituximab (MR) or observation in responding patients.
Patients And Methods: Untreated DLBCL patients who were 60 years or older were randomly assigned to R-CHOP (n = 318) or CHOP (n = 314); 415 responders were randomly assigned to MR (n = 207) or observation (n = 208). The primary end point was failure-free survival (FFS). All P values were two sided.
Results: Three-year FFS rate was 53% for R-CHOP patients and 46% for CHOP patients (P = .04) at a median follow-up time of 3.5 years. Two-year FFS rate from second random assignment was 76% for MR compared with 61% for observation (P = .009). No significant differences in survival were seen according to induction or maintenance therapy. FFS was prolonged with MR after CHOP (P = .0004) but not after R-CHOP (P = .81) with 2-year FFS rates from second random assignment of 77%, 79%, 74%, and 45% for R-CHOP, R-CHOP + MR, CHOP + MR, and CHOP, respectively. In a secondary analysis excluding MR patients, R-CHOP alone reduced the risks of treatment failure (P = .003) and death (P = .05) compared with CHOP alone.
Conclusion: Rituximab administered as induction or maintenance with CHOP chemotherapy significantly prolonged FFS in older DLBCL patients. After R-CHOP, no benefit was provided by MR. These results, which are consistent with an additive effect of rituximab, suggest that future studies could focus on maintenance strategies with novel agents as well as new induction therapies.