HealthDay News — Rituximab plus lenalidomide has similar efficacy to rituximab plus chemotherapy among patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma, according to a study published in the September 6 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Franck Morschhauser, MD, PhD, from the University of Lille in France, and colleagues conducted an international, randomized phase 3 trial to evaluate rituximab plus lenalidomide (513 patients) versus rituximab plus chemotherapy (one of three rituximab-based regimens; 517 patients) in patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma. Both regimens were followed by rituximab maintenance therapy. Follow-up continued to 120 weeks. 

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The researchers found that the rate of confirmed or unconfirmed complete response at 120 weeks was similar in the 2 groups: 48% in the rituximab-lenalidomide group vs 53% in the rituximab-chemotherapy group (P=.13). The interim 3-year rate of progression-free survival was also similar (77 vs 78%). In the rituximab-chemotherapy group, a higher percentage of patients had grade 3 or 4 neutropenia (50 vs 32%) and febrile neutropenia (7 vs 2%) of any grade. A higher percentage of patients in the rituximab-lenalidomide group had grade 3 or 4 cutaneous reactions (7 vs 1%).

“Among patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma, efficacy results were similar with rituximab plus lenalidomide and rituximab plus chemotherapy,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Celgene, which manufactures lenalidomide and funded the study.

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