Rituximab plus fludarabine and cyclophosphamide prolongs progression-free survival compared with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide alone in previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia.J Clin Oncol. 2010 Apr 01; 28(10):1756-65.JC
Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody that targets the CD20 cell surface antigen, has clinical activity in patients with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and other B-lymphocyte disorders when administered alone or in combination with chemotherapy. Promising results have previously been reported in nonrandomized studies in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). This trial was designed to compare chemoimmunotherapy with chemotherapy alone in patients with previously treated CLL.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
This international, multicenter, randomized trial compared six cycles of rituximab plus fludarabine and cyclophosphamide (R-FC) with six cycles of fludarabine and cyclophosphamide alone (FC) in patients with previously treated CLL. A total of 552 patients with Binet stage A (1%), B (59%), or C (31%) disease entered the study and were randomly assigned to receive R-FC (n = 276) or FC (n = 276).
After a median follow-up time of 25 months, rituximab significantly improved progression-free survival in patients with previously treated CLL (hazard ratio = 0.65; P < .001; median, 30.6 months for R-FC v 20.6 months for FC). Event-free survival, response rate, complete response rate, duration of response, and time to new CLL treatment or death were also significantly improved. Although the rates of adverse events, grade 3 or 4 events, and serious adverse events were slightly higher in the R-FC arm, R-FC was generally well tolerated, with no new safety findings and no detrimental effect on quality of life.
R-FC significantly improved the outcome of patients with previously treated CLL.