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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