Rituximab-CHOP With Early Rituximab Intensification for Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma: A Randomized Phase III Trial of the HOVON and the Nordic Lymphoma Group (HOVON-84).

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Immunochemotherapy with rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP) has become standard of care for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). This randomized trial assessed whether rituximab intensification during the first 4 cycles of R-CHOP could improve the outcome of these patients compared with standard R-CHOP.A total of 574 patients with DLBCL age 18 to 80 years were randomly assigned to induction therapy with 6 or 8 cycles of R-CHOP-14 with (RR-CHOP-14) or without (R-CHOP-14) intensification of rituximab in the first 4 cycles. The primary end point was complete remission (CR) on induction. Analyses were performed by intention to treat.CR was achieved in 254 (89%) of 286 patients in the R-CHOP-14 arm and 249 (86%) of 288 patients in the RR-CHOP-14 arm (hazard ratio [HR], 0.82; 95% CI, 0.50 to 1.36; P = .44). After a median follow-up of 92 months (range, 1-131 months), 3-year failure-free survival was 74% (95% CI, 68% to 78%) in the R-CHOP-14 arm versus 69% (95% CI, 63% to 74%) in the RR-CHOP-14 arm (HR, 1.26; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.61; P = .07). Progression-free survival at 3 years was 74% (95% CI, 69% to 79%) in the R-CHOP-14 arm versus 71% (95% CI, 66% to 76%) in the RR-CHOP-14 arm (HR, 1.20; 95% CI, 0.94 to 1.55; P = .15). Overall survival at 3 years was 81% (95% CI, 76% to 85%) in the R-CHOP-14 arm versus 76% (95% CI, 70% to 80%) in the RR-CHOP-14 arm (HR, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.67; P = .09). Patients between ages 66 and 80 years experienced significantly more toxicity during the first 4 cycles in the RR-CHOP-14 arm, especially neutropenia and infections.Early rituximab intensification during R-CHOP-14 does not improve outcome in patients with untreated DLBCL.


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