, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 283-289,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 02 Sep 2009

Rituximab retherapy in patients with relapsed aggressive B cell and mantle cell lymphoma

Abstract

Neither effective salvage regimens nor the outcome and response to retherapy with rituximab containing chemotherapy have been defined for rituximab pre-treated patients with relapsing aggressive lymphoma. We report here a single-centre retrospective outcome analysis of second-line immunochemotherapy with rituximab. In 28 patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B cell lymphomas, first-line immunochemotherapy had induced objective responses in 18 patients. Nine of 28 patients responded to rituximab containing salvage therapy, leading to a median overall survival of 243 days after start of second immunochemotherapy. Long-term disease free survivors (1,260 and 949 days) were restricted to the group of twelve patients that had received allogeneic stem cell transplantation as consolidation therapy. In 21 patients with relapsed mantle cell lymphomas (MCL), 19 patients had reached remissions with first-line therapy. Of those, 16 patients experienced responses to salvage therapy with a median overall survival of 226 days. Noteworthy, none of patients with initial non-responding disease reached a remission with second immunochemotherapy. Seven patients with MCL stayed free from progression after high-dose therapy with autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplantation in two and five cases, respectively. In summary, responses to repeated immunotherapy with rituximab were observed in approximately one third and two thirds of initially responding patients with aggressive B cell lymphoma and mantle cell lymphoma, respectively, but not in primarily refractory disease. Lasting remissions were achieved only by high-dose chemotherapy with stem cell transplantation.