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Friedrichs, Birte; Nickelsen, Maike; Ziepert, Marito; Altmann, Bettina; Haenel, Mathias; Viardot, Andreas; Schmidt, Christian; Ruebe, Christian; Löffler, Markus; Pfreundschuh, Michael; Rosenwald, Andreas; Glass, Bertram; Lenz, Georg; Schmitz, Norbert (2019): Doubling rituximab in high-risk patients with aggressive B-cell lymphoma -results of the DENSE-R-MegaCHOEP trial. In: British Journal of Haematology, Vol. 184, No. 5: pp. 760-768
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Abstract

To further improve outcome in young high-risk patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) the number of rituximab (R) infusions was doubled in combination with standard CHOEP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, etoposide, vincristine, prednisone) chemotherapy. Seventy-seven patients (aged 18-60 years) with an age-adjusted International Prognostic Index of 2-3 received 12 x R (375 mg/m(2)) on days 0, 1, 4, 8, 15, 22, 29, 43, 57, 71, 85 and 99 together with eight cycles of CHOEP-14. Results were retrospectively compared to those of patients receiving 6 x R and 8 x CHOEP-14 in the standard arm of the randomized R-MegaCHOEP trial. Two-year overall survival (OS) was 82% [95% confidence interval (CI) 73%-92%];2-year event-free (EFS) and progression-free survival (PFS) was 69% (95% CI 59-80%) and 76% (95% CI 66%--6%), respectively. Comparing 12 to six doses of R revealed no differences (univariate/multivariate) in EFS (at 2 years: 69% vs. 71%), PFS (76% vs. 75%) and OS (82% vs. 85%), with P = 0 center dot 766, P = 0 center dot 871 and P = 0 center dot 843, respectively. Doubling the number of R infusions concomitant to CHOEP did not improve treatment outcomes. Nonetheless, OS and PFS of young high-risk patients who received only six infusions of R combined with CHOEP remain excellent and were confirmed in an independent cohort of patients.