Around 1 in 5 people diagnosed with cancer in the UK take part in a clinical trial.
A trial looking at 2 years of treatment with rituximab for follicular lymphoma
This trial was to see if long term treatment with rituximab helped people who had responded to a combination of chemotherapy and rituximab as
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
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
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 (
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.
Professor Andrew Lister
Cancer Research UK
National Institute for Health Research Cancer Research Network (NCRN)
This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUKE/05/026.
If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses
Freephone 0808 800 4040