Consolidation and maintenance immunotherapy with rituximab improve clinical outcome in patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Giovanni Del Poeta, Maria Ilaria Del Principe, Francesco Buccisano, Luca Maurillo, Giovanni Capelli, Fabrizio Luciano, Alessio Pio Perrotti, Massimo Degan, Adriano Venditti, Paolo De Fabritiis, Valter Gattei, Sergio Amadori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

BACKGROUND. Rituximab in sequential combination with fludarabine (Flu) allowed patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL) to achieve higher remission rates and longer response duration. Based on their recent experience in indolent non-Hodgkin lymphomas, in this study, the authors attempted to demonstrate whether consolidation/maintenance therapy with rituximab could prolong the response duration in this patient population. METHODS. This Phase II study was based on a consolidation/maintenance therapy with rituximab for patients in complete remission (CR) or partial remission (PR) who were positive for minimal residual disease (MRD), as determined by flow cytometry. Seventy-five symptomatic, untreated patients with B-CLL received 6 monthly cycles of Flu (25 mg/m2 for 5 days) followed by 4 weekly doses of rituximab (375 mg/m2). Then, 28 patients who were positive for MRD were consolidated with 4 monthly cycles of rituximab (375 mg/m 2) followed by 12 monthly low doses of rituximab (150 mg/m 2). RESULTS. Based on National Cancer Institute criteria, 61 of 75 patients (81%) achieved a CR, 10 of 75 patients (13%) had a PR, and 4 of 75 patients (5%) had either no response or disease progression. MRD-positive patients in CR or PR who received consolidation therapy (n = 28 patients) had a significantly longer response duration (87% vs 32% at 5 years; P = .001) compared with a subset of patients who did not receive consolidation therapy (n = 18 patients). All patients experienced a long progression-free survival from the end of induction treatment (73% at 5 years). It was noteworthy that, within the subset of ZAP-70-positive patients, MRD-positive, consolidated patients (n = 12 patients) had a significantly longer response duration (69% vs 0% at 2.6 years; P = .007) compared with MRD-positive, unconsolidated patients (n = 11 patients). CONCLUSIONS. The addition of a consolidation and maintenance therapy with rituximab prolonged response duration significantly in patients with MRD-positive B-CLL.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-128
Number of pages10
JournalCancer
Volume112
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2008

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • CD38
  • Consolidation and maintenance therapy with rituximab
  • Cytogenetics
  • Immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable-region status
  • Minimal residual disease
  • Response duration
  • ZAP-70

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

Cite this

Del Poeta, G., Del Principe, M. I., Buccisano, F., Maurillo, L., Capelli, G., Luciano, F., Perrotti, A. P., Degan, M., Venditti, A., De Fabritiis, P., Gattei, V., & Amadori, S. (2008). Consolidation and maintenance immunotherapy with rituximab improve clinical outcome in patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer, 112(1), 119-128. https://doi.org/10.1002/cncr.23144