There is a lack of published data examining non-cytotoxic options for the frontline treatment of patients with high-tumour burden (HTB) indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL). We completed a multicentre phase II study for patients with untreated HTB iNHL (NCT00369707) consisting of three induction cycles of weekly bortezomib and rituximab followed by an abbreviated consolidation. Forty-two patients were treated and all were evaluable; the most common histology was follicular lymphoma (FL) (n = 33, 79%). Patient characteristics included median age 62 years (40-86); 38% bulky disease; 19% malignant effusions; 91% advanced-stage disease; and median FL International Prognostic Index (FLIPI) score was 3. Therapy was well tolerated with few grade 3/4 toxicities including minimal neurotoxicity. On intent-to-treat, the overall response rate (ORR) at end of therapy was 70% with a complete remission (CR) rate of 40% (FL: ORR 76%, CR 44%). With 50-month median follow-up, 4-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 44% with 4-year overall survival (OS) of 87% (FL: 44% and 97%, respectively). Four-year PFS for FLIPI 0-2 vs. 3-5 was 60% vs. 26% respectively (P = 0·02), with corresponding OS rates of 92% and 81% respectively (P = 0·16). Collectively, bortezomib/rituximab is a non-cytotoxic therapeutic regimen that was well tolerated and resulted in long-term survival rates approximating prior rituximab/cytotoxic chemotherapy series for untreated HTB FL.
- Follicular lymphoma
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