Maintenance Rituximab

The FDA on Jan 31, 2011 approved Rituximab as a maintenance treatment for patients with advanced follicular lymphoma, who responded to initial treatment with Rituximab plus chemotherapy. Follicular lymphomas are a subset of Non Hodgkins Lymphomas and are very responsive to chemotherapy or chemotherapy with Rituximab. They are usually incurable however, despite treatment with Rituximab plus chemotherapy. So think of this condition as a chronic disease. For this reason, prolonging remission duration is important, as the length of remission tends to be shorter with each recurrence.

In the PRIMA trial, which was a phase III study, maintenance Rituximab for 2 years given to those who responded to induction treatment with chemotherapy and Rituximab, delayed the risk of recurrence and improved progression free survival. These findings are relevant for patients who essentially have a chronic disease and are willing to pursue interventions that would delay recurrence of their lymphoma and therefore improve their quality of lives.