The addition of rituximab to chemotherapy may benefit patients being treated for CD20-positive, Philadelphia chromosome (Ph)-negative acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), according to a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.1

In a randomized trial, researchers examined 209 patients with CD20-positive, Ph-negative ALL: 104 in a control group who received chemotherapy without rituximab, and 105 patients who received rituximab with chemotherapy during all treatment phases, totaling 16 to 18 infusions.

With a median follow-up of 30 months, estimated 2-year event-free survival rates were 65% in the group treated with rituximab, in contrast with 52% in the control group. Rituximab treatment was associated with longer event-free survival.

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While there was no significant difference in the overall incidence rate of severe adverse events between the 2 groups, fewer allergic reactions to asparaginase were observed in the group treated with rituximab.


  1. Maury S, Chevret S, Thomas X, et al. Rituximab in B-lineage adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia. N Eng J Med. 2016;375:1044-1053 doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1605085