Immunochemotherapy with rituximab and cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone significantly improves response and time to treatment failure, but not long-term outcome in patients with previously untreated mantle cell lymphoma: results of a prospective randomized trial of the German Low Grade Lymphoma Study Group (GLSG)

Georg Lenz, Martin Dreyling, Eva Hoster, Bernhard Wörmann, Ulrich Dührsen, Bernd Metzner, Hartmut Eimermacher, Andreas Neubauer, Hannes Wandt, Hjalmar Steinhauer, Sonja Martin, Else Heidemann, Ali Aldaoud, Reza Parwaresch, Joerg Hasford, Michael Unterhalt, Wolfgang Hiddemann
Journal of Clinical Oncology 2005 March 20, 23 (9): 1984-92

PURPOSE: Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is characterized by a poor prognosis with a low to moderate sensitivity to chemotherapy and a median survival of only 3 to 4 years. In an attempt to improve outcome, the German Low Grade Lymphoma Study Group (GLSG) initiated a randomized trial comparing the combination of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP) and rituximab (R-CHOP) with CHOP alone as first-line therapy for advanced-stage MCL.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: One hundred twenty-two previously untreated patients with advanced-stage MCL were randomly assigned to six cycles of CHOP (n = 60) or R-CHOP (n = 62). Patients up to 65 years of age achieving a partial or complete remission underwent a second randomization to either myeloablative radiochemotherapy followed by autologous stem-cell transplantation or interferon alfa maintenance (IFNalpha). All patients older than 65 years received IFNalpha maintenance.

RESULTS: R-CHOP was significantly superior to CHOP in terms of overall response rate (94% v 75%; P = .0054), complete remission rate (34% v 7%; P = .00024), and time to treatment failure (TTF; median, 21 v 14 months; P = .0131). No differences were observed for progression-free survival. Toxicity was acceptable, with no major differences between the two therapeutic groups.

CONCLUSION: The combined immunochemotherapy with R-CHOP resulted in a significantly higher response rate and a prolongation of the TTF as compared with chemotherapy alone. Hence, R-CHOP may serve as a new baseline regimen for advanced stage MCL, but needs to be further improved by novel strategies in remission.

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