Efficacy and safety of the combination of rituximab, fludarabine, and mitoxantrone for rituximab-naive, recurrent/refractory follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma with high tumor burden: a multicenter phase 2 trial by the Groupe d'Etude des Lymphomes de l'Adulte (GELA) and Groupe Ouest Est des Leucémies et Autres Maladies du Sang (GOELAMS)

Franck Morschhauser, Nicolas Mounier, Catherine Sebban, Pauline Brice, Phillippe Solal-Celigny, Herve Tilly, Pierre Feugier, Christophe Fermé, Marie Christine Copin, Thierry Lamy
Cancer 2010 September 15, 116 (18): 4299-308

BACKGROUND: This phase 2 trial was undertaken to evaluate the efficacy and safety of rituximab combined with intravenous fludarabine and mitoxantrone (R-FM) for patients with recurrent/refractory follicular lymphoma who had high tumor burden according to Groupe d'Etude des Lymphomes Folliculaires (GELF) criteria.

METHODS: Fifty patients were enrolled who had received a maximum of 2 previous regimens, including 1 cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (CHOP)/CHOP-like regimen but no previous exposure to rituximab, fludarabine, or mitoxantrone. At baseline, 58% of patients had bulky disease (lesion > 7 cm), 56% had high-risk Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI) scores (range, 3-5), and 22% were refractory. Treatment consisted of 4 courses of R-FM (rituximab 375 mg/m(2) intravenously on Day 1, fludarabine 25 mg/m(2) intravenously on Days 2 through 4, and mitoxantrone 10 mg/m(2) intravenously on Day 2, recycling at Day 28) and consolidation with 2 courses of fludarabine and mitoxantrone (the same regimen without rituximab).

RESULTS: The best response (84% overall response rate including 68% complete response/complete response unconfirmed) was achieved after 4 courses of R-FM. Response rates were high regardless of age, refractoriness to last previous therapy, and FLIPI score. After a median follow-up of 4 years, the 3-year progression-free survival rate was 47%, the event-free survival rate was 41%, and the 3-year overall survival rate was 66%. Grade ≥ 3 neutropenia and infections were the most common toxicities and occurred in 72% and 14% of patients, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Cytoreduction with 4 courses of R-FM was safe and highly efficient in patients with recurrent/refractory follicular lymphoma who had high tumor burden; however, better consolidation than FM is needed to further improve outcome.

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