From the Journals

Rituximab/lenalidomide similar to rituximab/chemotherapy for follicular lymphoma



Rituximab plus lenalidomide had efficacy similar to that of rituximab plus chemotherapy in treatment of follicular lymphoma, according to results from a phase 3 trial.

RELEVANCE (NCT01476787) was a multicenter, international, randomized, open-label trial designed to determine the superiority of rituximab/lenalidomide over rituximab/chemotherapy.

This trial randomized 1,030 patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma to receive either rituximab plus lenalidomide (n = 513) or rituximab plus chemotherapy (n = 517) for 18 cycles; both groups then went on to receive rituximab maintenance therapy for 12 cycles. The total duration of treatment was 120 weeks. The median age of the combined groups was 59 years. The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

One of the coprimary endpoints was complete response (confirmed or unconfirmed) by the end of the treatment period; the other was progression-free survival, which was planned to be assessed through three analyses, including two interim analyses, the first of which was reported in this study.

After a median follow-up of 37.9 months, the rates of coprimary endpoints were similar between the two groups. Complete response (confirmed or unconfirmed) was seen in 48% of the rituximab/lenalidomide group (95% confidence interval [CI], 44-53) and in 53% of the rituximab/chemotherapy group (95% CI, 49-57; P = .13). The hazard ratio for progression or death from any cause was 1.10 (95% CI, 0.85-1.43; P = .48).

In the subgroup analyses, the efficacy of rituximab plus chemotherapy was greater in low-risk patients (based on Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index scores) and in patients whose follicular lymphoma was Ann Arbor stage I or II, whereas efficacy of rituximab/lenalidomide was independent of prognostic factors.

Safety was the biggest area of difference, with some events being more common in one group than in the other. For example, cutaneous reactions, diarrhea, rash, and myalgia were more common with rituximab/lenalidomide treatment, whereas anemia, fatigue, nausea, and febrile neutropenia were more common with rituximab/chemotherapy treatment. Among grade 3 or 4 events, cutaneous reactions were more common with rituximab/lenalidomide, and grade 3 or 4 neutropenia was more common with rituximab/chemotherapy.

“Overall, both treatment groups showed good outcomes, and a median has not yet been reached for either progression-free survival or overall survival,” the study authors wrote.

The RELEVANCE trial was sponsored by Celgene and the Lymphoma Academic Research Organisation. The study authors reported various disclosures, including financial ties to Celgene.

SOURCE: Morschhauser F et al. N Engl J Med. 2018;379:934-47.

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