Rituximab biosimilars and the originator produce similar outcomes in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), according to research published in Blood Advances.

For this study, researchers analyzed data on 4429 adults in the Netherlands Cancer Registry. The patients were diagnosed with DLBCL between 2014 and 2018 and had received at least 1 cycle of rituximab plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisolone (R-CHOP).

The cohort included 876 patients who received a rituximab biosimilar (R-biosimilars) and 3553 who received the rituximab originator (R-originator). 

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The overall response rate was similar between the R-biosimilars and R-originator groups — 84% and 85%, respectively (P =.326). The 3-year overall survival rate was exactly the same in each group, at 73% (P =.855). 

After adjustment for age at diagnosis, sex, International Prognostic Index score, and the number of R-CHOP cycles, the risk of mortality was similar between the treatment groups (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% CI, 0.76-1.05; P =.182).  

The researchers noted that, by the end of 2018, biosimilars made up 91% of rituximab purchases in the Netherlands, accounting for an approximate 43% reduction in annual costs. 

“Collectively, our data show that patients with DLBCL benefit equally from R-originator or R-biosimilars combined with CHOP treatment,” the researchers wrote. “These results favor the use of R-biosimilars in the first-line treatment of DLBCL because this helps to constrain worldwide health care spending without negatively affecting overall survival.”

Disclosures: Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.


Brink M, Kahle XU, Vermaat JSP, et al. Impact of rituximab biosimilars on overall survival in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: A Dutch population-based study. Blood Adv. 2021;5(15):2958-2964. doi:10.1182/bloodadvances.2021004295