Background Intravenous rituximab is the standard of care in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and is administered over 1·5–6 h. A subcutaneous formulation could reduce patients' treatment burden and improve resource utilisation in health care. We aimed to show the pharmacokinetic non-inferiority of subcutaneous rituximab to intravenous rituximab in follicular lymphoma and to provide efficacy and safety data. Methods SABRINA is a two-stage, randomised, open-label phase 3 study at 113 centres in 30 countries. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older and had histologically confirmed, previously untreated, CD20-positive grade 1, 2, or 3a follicular lymphoma; Eastern Co-operative Oncology Group performance statuses of 0–2; bidimensionally measurable disease (by CT or MRI); life expectancy of 6 months or more; adequate haematological function for 28 days or more; and one or more symptoms requiring treatment according to the Groupe d'Etudes des Lymphomes Folliculaires criteria. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) by investigators or members of the research team via a dynamic randomisation algorithm to 375 mg/m2 intravenous rituximab or 1400 mg subcutaneous rituximab, plus chemotherapy (six-to-eight cycles of cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone [CHOP] or eight cycles of cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone [CVP]), every 3 weeks during induction, then rituximab maintenance every 8 weeks. Randomisation was stratified by selected chemotherapy, Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index, and region. The primary endpoint for stage 2 was overall response (ie, confirmed complete response, unconfirmed complete response, and partial response) at the end of induction. Efficacy analyses were done in the intention-to-treat population. Pooled data from stages 1 and 2 are reported on the basis of the clinical cutoff date of the last patient completing the maintenance phase of the study. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01200758; new patients are no longer being recruited, but some patients are still being followed up. Findings Between Feb 15, 2011, and May 15, 2013, 410 patients were randomly assigned, 205 to intravenous rituximab and 205 to subcutaneous rituximab. Investigator-assessed overall response at the end of induction was 84·9% (95% CI 79·2–89·5) in the intravenous group and 84·4% (78·7–89·1) in the subcutaneous group. The frequency of adverse events was similar in both groups (199 [95%] of 210 in the intravenous group vs 189 [96%] of 197 in the subcutaneous group); the frequency of adverse events of grade 3 or higher was also similar (116 [55%] vs 111 [56%]). The most common grade 3 or higher adverse event was neutropenia, which occurred in 44 patients (21%) in the intravenous group and 52 (26%) in the subcutaneous group. Serious adverse events occurred in 72 patients (34%) in the intravenous group and 73 (37%) in the subcutaneous group. Administration-related reactions occurred in 73 patients (35%) in the intravenous group and 95 (48%) patients in the subcutaneous group (mainly grade 1 or 2 local injection-site reactions). Interpretation Intravenous and subcutaneous rituximab had similar efficacy and safety profiles, and no new safety concerns were noted. Subcutaneous administration does not compromise the anti-lymphoma activity of rituximab when given with chemotherapy. Funding F Hoffmann-La Roche.
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