A trial looking at rituximab as an injection under the skin with chemotherapy for follicular lymphoma (SABRINA)

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Low grade lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 3

This trial was comparing different ways of having a drug called rituximab alongside chemotherapy as the first treatment for follicular lymphoma.

Follicular lymphoma is the most common type of non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Doctors usually treat follicular lymphoma with chemotherapy and a drug called rituximab. Drug combinations called CHOP and CVP are 2 types of chemotherapy that they often use.

More about this trial

Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets a protein called CD20 on lymphoma cells. It sticks to all the CD20 proteins it finds. The cells of the immune system pick out the marked cells and kill them.

You usually have rituximab through a drip into a vein. In this trial, researchers were looking at giving it as an injection just under the skin (a subcutaneous injection).

The trial was in 2 parts. The aim of the first part was to look at what happened to subcutaneous rituximab in the body. This is called pharmacokinetics Open a glossary item.

The aim of the second part was to compare having standard rituximab through a drip into a vein with subcutaneous injections, alongside CHOP or CVP chemotherapy.

Summary of results

Results from the first part of the trial show that there is as much rituximab available in the bloodstream when you have it as an injection under the skin (subcutaneous rituximab), as there is when you have it through a drip into a vein (intravenous rituximab).

127 people joined the first part of the trial. They all had follicular lymphoma and hadn’t had any other treatment.

This was a randomised trial. The people taking part were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups by a computer. Neither the people taking part, nor their doctors could choose which group they were in.

Everybody had CVP or CHOP chemotherapy in 3 week cycles of treatment. They had up to 8 cycles of treatment to get rid of their lymphoma (this is called induction treatment).

People in both groups had 1 dose of intravenous rituximab with their first cycle of chemotherapy. After that, people in one group had intravenous rituximab with each subsequent cycle of chemotherapy. People in the other group had subcutaneous rituximab with each cycle of chemotherapy.

The researchers looked at the amount of rituximab in the bloodstream after 7 cycles of treatment. They found that the level in the blood was as high in people who had subcutaneous rituximab as it was in people who had the drug through a drip into a vein.

People whose lymphoma got better during induction treatment carried on having intravenous or subcutaneous rituximab once every 8 weeks to stop the lymphoma coming back. This is called maintenance treatment.

In the second part of the trial, the researchers are comparing the 2 different ways of having rituximab to see if the injection under the skin (subcutaneous injection) works as well as having it through a drip into the vein and what the side effects of these 2 treatments are. They have recruited enough people to look at this and when results are available from this part of the trial, we will update the information on this page.

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. 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

Dr Andrew Davies

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer

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Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 8362

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

Wendy took part in a new trial studying the possible side effect of hearing loss

A picture of Wendy

"I was delighted to take part in a clinical trial as it has the potential to really help others in the future.”

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