(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Following a single 4-dose rituximab induction in first line low-tumor-burden follicular lymphoma, a significant proportion of patients remained progression-free 7 years later, a study reported in the Annals of Oncology online July 10.

“The 7-year overall survival is very high in this selected population of patients,” noted Prof. Philippe Colombat, of Bretonneau University Hospital, Tours, France, and colleagues. The study reported long-term clinical and molecular responses in 46 of 49 patients with low-tumor-burden follicular lymphoma who had received rituximab 375 mg/m2 weekly as induction monotherapy.

Best clinical response was found to be 80%; 24 patients (52%) had complete or unconfirmed complete response, 13 (28%) had partial response, and 9 (20%) had stable or progressive disease. Following treatment, 15 of 31 patients (48%) who had a positive bcl2-JH rearrangement became negative.

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At 83.9-month (95% CI 6.4–92.8) follow-up, median progression-free survival was 23.5 months and overall survival, 91.7%, the investigators reported. Of the 5 deaths, one each was attributed to disease progression, myelodysplasia, and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and two to solid tumors. A total of 7 patients (15%) remain progression-free, including 5 who are bcl2 informative.

“No unexpected long-term adverse event has been observed,” they concluded.