Immunochemotherapy with rituximab, vincristine and 5-day cyclophosphamide for heavily pretreated follicular lymphoma

Mario Lazzarino, Luca Arcaini, Ester Orlandi, Isabella Iacona, Paolo Bernasconi, Silvia Calatroni, Marzia Varettoni, Luciano Isa, Ercole Brusamolino, Maurizio Bonfichi, Francesco Passamonti, Sara Burcheri, Cristiana Pascutto, Mario Regazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Therapeutic options for relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma include combination chemotherapy, immunotherapy and, for selected patients, autotransplant. Because of the different mechanisms of action and non-overlapping toxicities, combination of rituximab with chemotherapy is a rational approach. Methods: 30 patients with follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma with advanced-stage disease were treated with four cycles of immunochemotherapy with rituximab 375 mg/m2 on day 1, vincristine 2 mg i.v. on day 2 and cyclophosphamide 400 mg/m2 i.v. from days 2 to 6, repeated at 3-week intervals. All patients had received multiple lines of therapy (median 3); 9 (30%) had relapses (2 after high-dose therapy with autologous transplant), and 21 (70%) were in relapse and refractory to salvage treatment (with an anthracycline-containing regimen in 19). Results: Of 29 patients evaluable for response, 16 (55 %) obtained a complete response (CR) and 3 (10%) a partial response (PR), with an overall response rate of 65% (19/29); 10 patients (35%) achieved less than PR. The median event-free survival was 16.1 months for all patients, being 22.8 months for responders. After a median follow-up of 2 years from the start of therapy (range 6 months to 3.8 years), of 16 patients who achieved CR, 10 remain free of disease. Conclusion: The combination of rituximab with vincristine and 5-day cyclophosphamide is able to produce CR in patients with advanced follicular lymphoma, even in patients resistant to third-generation regimens. The regimen designed on the basis of pharmacokinetics of the chimeric antibody seemed important for the clinical efficacy of the combination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005


  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Immunochemotherapy
  • Lymphoma
  • Refractory
  • Rituximab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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