Rituximab and its role as maintenance therapy in non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Bridgette Collins-Burow, Edgardo S Santos
Expert Review of Anticancer Therapy 2007, 7 (3): 257-73
Since rituximab, a chimeric monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody, was introduced into clinical practice in 1997, data regarding its benefit in terms of response rate, quality of response, progression-free survival and overall survival in B-cell lymphoid malignancies continues to expand. Rituximab has proven to be a relatively well-tolerated drug, with its major side effects being infusion related. Rituximab was approved initially by the US FDA and the European Medicines Agency for relapsed or refractory low-grade or follicular CD20+ B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Subsequently, its use has been extended to include first-line therapy in low-grade lymphoma as well as the treatment of more aggressive histological subtypes such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. In this article, we review the landmark trials that have impacted clinical practice in follicular and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas and the emerging data for use of rituximab as maintenance therapy in non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


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