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Rituximab + Chemo Ups Survival in Pediatric B-Cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Event-free survival significantly longer for children, teens with high-grade, high-risk disease

sick child

THURSDAY, June 4, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- For children and adolescents with high-grade, high-risk, mature B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, rituximab added to standard lymphomes malins B (LMB) chemotherapy prolongs event-free survival, according to a study published in the June 4 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Véronique Minard-Colin, M.D., Ph.D., from the Université Paris-Saclay, and colleagues conducted an open-label, international, randomized trial involving patients younger than 18 years of age with high-risk, mature B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma or acute leukemia; 85.7 percent had Burkitt lymphoma. A total of 328 patients were randomly assigned, including 164 to receive six doses of rituximab in addition to standard LMB chemotherapy and 164 to standard chemotherapy alone. Patients were followed for a median of 39.9 months.

The researchers found that events were observed in 10 and 28 patients in the rituximab-chemotherapy and chemotherapy groups, respectively. At three years, event-free survival was 93.9 and 82.3 percent in the rituximab-chemotherapy and chemotherapy groups, respectively (hazard ratio for primary refractory disease or first occurrence of progression, relapse after response, death from any cause, or second cancer, 0.32). Eight and 20 patients, respectively, in the rituximab-chemotherapy and chemotherapy groups died (hazard ratio, 0.36).

"The addition of rituximab to chemotherapy was effective therapy in children and adolescents with high-risk, high-grade, mature B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and resulted in long-term complete remission in 95 percent of the patients," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including F. Hoffmann-La Roche-Genentech, which manufactures rituximab and partially funded the study.

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