Purpose In low-tumor burden follicular lymphoma (FL), maintenance rituximab (MR) has been shown to improve progression-free survival when compared with observation. It is not known whether MR provides superior long-term disease control compared with re-treatment rituximab (RR) administered on an as-needed basis. E4402 (RESORT) was a randomized clinical trial designed to compare MR against RR.
Patients and Methods Eligible patients with previously untreated low-tumor burden FL received four doses of rituximab, and responding patients were randomly assigned to either RR or MR. Patients receiving RR were eligible for re-treatment at each disease progression until treatment failure. Patients assigned to MR received a single dose of rituximab every 3 months until treatment failure. The primary end point was time to treatment failure. Secondary end points included time to first cytotoxic therapy, toxicity, and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).
Results A total of 289 patients were randomly assigned to RR or MR. With a median follow-up of 4.5 years, the estimated median time to treatment failure was 3.9 years for patients receiving RR and 4.3 years for those receiving MR (P = .54). Three-year freedom from cytotoxic therapy was 84% for those receiving RR and 95% for those receiving MR (P = .03). The median number of rituximab doses was four patients receiving RR and 18 for those receiving MR. There was no difference in HRQOL. Grade 3 to 4 toxicities were infrequent in both arms.
Conclusion In low-tumor burden FL, a re-treatment strategy uses less rituximab while providing disease control comparable to that achieved with a maintenance strategy.