The study, which outlines the experience across a variety of different treatment patterns at City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, Calif., between January 1997 and November 2013, suggests a “large benefit” of adding rituximab, wrote Matthew G. Mei, MD, of the center’s department of hematology and hematopoietic cell transplantation, and his colleagues. Further, maintenance rituximab was associated with improved survival outcomes in patients with positron emission tomography (PET)-negative status at first complete remission.
The benefit of rituximab “stands out, and adds to the increasing body of evidence supporting this practice for all MCL patients after ASCT, regardless of age and frontline induction regimens,” wrote Dr. Mei and his colleagues (Biol Blood Marrow Transplant 2017 November. doi:). This was the case even with improvements in early diagnosis and supportive care, and the incorporation of novel agents such as bortezomib, lenalidomide, and ibrutinib, they wrote, noting significantly better outcomes for patients who underwent ASCT after 2007.
In multivariate analysis, maintenance rituximab therapy after ASCT was the single most important factor associated with improvement in progression-free survival (relative risk [RR], .25; 95% confidence interval, .14-.44) and overall survival (RR, .17; 95% CI, .07-.38).
Positron emission tomography scans were done prior to ASCT for 133 patients; after ASCT, 105 (79%) were found to be in a PET-negative complete remission. All but one of the patients with PET-negative disease received rituximab before ASCT. For that PET-negative subset, maintenance rituximab was significantly associated with improvements in progression-free survival (RR, .20; 95% CI, .09-.43) and overall survival (RR, .17; 95% CI, .05-.59).
This study represents one of the largest single-center reports to date on MCL patients who have undergone ASCT, according to the authors. “This study also sets the stage for prospective investigation aiming at optimization of maintenance therapy following ASCT.”
Dr. Mei reported no disclosures, and senior author Lihua E. Budde, MD, PhD, reported being a member of the Lymphoma Research Foundation MCL consortium. The study was supported by research funding from the National Cancer Institute.