Lymphoma in the News: No Benefit to Rituximab Maintenance Following Autologous Stem Cell Transplantation in Patients with Relapsed DLBCL

By Peter Martin, MD

Patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) that has relapsed following first-line chemotherapy are typically offered second-line chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (bone marrow transplantation using the patient’s own stem cells).

The CORAL study, a recently completed international phase 3 trial, evaluated whether rituximab following the transplant procedure could improve patient outcomes. The results of the study were recently presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) annual meeting.

Following second-line chemotherapy (R-ICE or R-DHAP) and stem cell transplant, 242 patients were randomized to receive rituximab given every two months for one year or observation. By four years, there was no difference in rate of progression or survival between the two groups. Interestingly, women that received rituximab maintenance did considerably better than men that received rituximab maintenance while there was no difference in outcomes between the two genders in the observation group.

Based on these results, there does not appear to be an advantage to rituximab maintenance following stem cell transplantation for DLBCL.

Click here to read the abstract of the CORAL study results as presented at the ASCO annual meeting.