Rituximab Sets the Pace in Changing Lymphoma Landscape

Jonathan W. Friedberg, MD, MMSc
Published: Friday, Oct 18, 2019
Jonathan W. Friedberg, MD, MMSc

Jonathan W. Friedberg, MD, MMSc

In any discussion of notable advances in treating lymphoma, rituximab (Rituxan) takes center stage. The FDA first approved rituximab in 1997 for relapsed/ refractory low-grade or follicular CD20-positive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma based on a single-arm trial whose results showed relatively modest efficacy (48% overall response rate). Nobody at the time of the agent’s approval could ever have imagined the transformative effect the drug would have on the management of B-cell lymphoma. Results of randomized trials soon showed overall survival benefits for rituximab combined with chemotherapy in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and follicular lymphoma, as well as the drug’s value in treatments following stem cell transplantation.
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