A trial looking at 2 years of treatment with rituximab for follicular lymphoma

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Low grade lymphoma
Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Status:

Results

Phase:

Phase 3

This trial was to see if long term treatment with rituximab helped people who had responded to a combination of chemotherapy and rituximab as first line treatment for follicular lymphoma. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK.

Follicular lymphoma is a slow growing type of non Hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors often treat follicular lymphoma with chemotherapy. They knew from earlier research that adding a drug called rituximab helped. Rituximab is a type of biological therapy called a monoclonal antibody.

But follicular lymphoma often comes back and doctors were looking for ways to improve treatment. In this trial, some people carried on having rituximab for 2 years. Doctors call this maintenance treatment.

The aim of the trial was to see if maintenance rituximab helped people with follicular lymphoma who responded to a combination of chemotherapy and rituximab as their first treatment.

Summary of results

The trial team found that having rituximab for 2 years helped people with follicular lymphoma who had already responded to a combination of chemotherapy and rituximab.

The trial recruited 1,217 people in a number of different countries. Their average age was 56.

Most people taking part had CHOP chemotherapy with rituximab as their first line treatment. But some people had other types of chemotherapy with rituximab.

Of the 1,018 people who had a response to their first treatment,

  • 505 then had rituximab once every 8 weeks for 2 years
  • 513 didn’t have any further treatment

The researchers monitored the progress of people in both groups for an average of just over 2 years. They found that the number of people living with no signs of their lymphoma having got worse was

  • 82% in the group who had rituximab
  • 66% in the group who did not have any further treatment

The most common side effect of maintenance rituximab was infection. So far, the results don’t show whether maintenance rituximab helps people to live longer. But the researchers suggest that as it helped people, without causing too many side effects, it should become part of standard treatment for follicular lymphoma.

We have based this summary on information from the team who ran the trial. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed) but may not have been published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor Andrew Lister

Supported by

Cancer Research UK
GELA
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)

Other information

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/05/026.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 602

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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