Post-induction Therapy for Low-grade or Follicular NHL

PRIMA & ECOG 1496: A proactive approach may help reduce the risk of relapse


Chart: Overall PFS Improvement
  • *R-CHEMO: Approximately 75% of trial patients in both trial arms received R-CHOP, 22% received R-CVP, and 3% received R-FCM.1
  • In both trials, improvement in overall PFS was calculated using the formula (1–HR)/HR. In the ECOG 1496 trial, PFS improvement is based on the HR of 0.49 found in the prescribing information.
  • NHL=non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; PFS=progression-free survival; HR=hazard ratio; R=RITUXAN; PRIMA=Primary RItuximab and MAintenance; CVP=cyclophosphamide, vincristine, and prednisone; ECOG=Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group; CHOP=cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone; FCM=fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and mitoxantrone.

RITUXAN after R-CHEMO in the PRIMA trial1,2

  • Patients with advanced follicular NHL were randomized to receive either RITUXAN or no further therapy if they achieved a CR, CRu, or PR with R-CHEMO induction therapy
  • At 2-year median follow-up, there was a 46% reduction in the risk of progression, relapse, or death with RITUXAN vs observation (p<0.0001)
  • RITUXAN following R-CHEMO nearly doubled the likelihood of remaining progression-free vs observation
  • CR=complete response; CRu=complete response, unconfirmed; PR=partial response.

RITUXAN after CVP in the ECOG 1496 trial1,2

  • Patients with advanced low-grade NHL were randomized to receive either RITUXAN or no further therapy if they achieved a CR, PR, or SD with CVP induction therapy
  • At 2.3-year median follow-up, there was a 51% reduction in the risk of relapse, progression, or death with RITUXAN vs observation (p≤0.05)
  • RITUXAN following CVP more than doubled the likelihood of remaining progression-free vs observation
  • SD=stable disease.

Single-agent RITUXAN as maintenance for follicular NHL after first-line RITUXAN-based chemotherapy

  • Detailed safety data collection was limited to Grade ≥2 infections, Grade ≥3 adverse reactions, and serious adverse reactions
  • The most common Grade 3-4 adverse reactions occurring at a higher incidence (≥2%) in the RITUXAN arm than in the observation arm were infections (4% vs. 1%) and neutropenia (4% vs. <1%)
  • The most frequently reported adverse reaction was infections. In patients receiving RITUXAN as single-agent maintenance therapy following RITUXAN plus chemotherapy, infections were reported more frequently compared with the observation arm (37% vs. 22%)

Single-agent RITUXAN for low-grade NHL after first-line CVP chemotherapy

  • Neutropenia was the only Grade 3 or 4 adverse reaction that occurred more frequently (≥2%) in the RITUXAN arm compared with those who received no further therapy (4% vs. 1%)
  • The following common adverse reactions were reported more frequently (≥5%) in patients receiving RITUXAN following CVP compared with those who received no further therapy: fatigue (39% vs. 14%), anemia (35% vs. 20%), peripheral sensory neuropathy (30% vs. 18%), infections (19% vs. 9%), pulmonary toxicity (18% vs. 10%), hepatobiliary toxicity (17% vs. 7%), rash and/or pruritus (17% vs. 5%), arthralgia (12% vs. 3%), and weight gain (11% vs. 4%)

  1. RITUXAN® (Rituximab) full prescribing information, Genentech, Inc., 2013.
  2. Data on file, Genentech, Inc.


RITUXAN® (Rituximab) is indicated for the treatment of patients with:

  • Relapsed or refractory, low-grade or follicular, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL as a single agent
  • Previously untreated follicular, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL in combination with first-line chemotherapy and, in patients achieving a complete or partial response to RITUXAN in combination with chemotherapy, as single-agent maintenance therapy
  • Non-progressing (including stable disease), low-grade, CD20-positive, B-cell NHL, as a single agent, after first-line CVP chemotherapy
  • Previously untreated diffuse large B-cell, CD20-positive NHL in combination with CHOP or other anthracycline-based chemotherapy regimens
  • Previously untreated and previously treated CD20-positive CLL in combination with fludarabine and cyclophosphamide (FC)

RITUXAN is not recommended for use in patients with severe, active infections.

Important Safety Information



  • Infusion Reactions: RITUXAN administration can result in serious, including fatal infusion reactions. Deaths within 24 hours of RITUXAN infusion have occurred. Approximately 80% of fatal infusion reactions occurred in association with the first infusion. Monitor patients closely. Discontinue RITUXAN infusion for severe reactions and provide medical treatment for Grade 3 or 4 infusion reactions
  • Severe Mucocutaneous Reactions: Severe, including fatal, mucocutaneous reactions can occur in patients receiving RITUXAN
  • Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Reactivation: HBV reactivation can occur in patients treated with RITUXAN, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death. Screen all patients for HBV infection before treatment initiation, and monitor patients during and after treatment with RITUXAN. Discontinue RITUXAN and concomitant medications in the event of HBV reactivation
  • Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML), including fatal PML, can occur in patients receiving RITUXAN

Warnings and Precautions

Tumor Lysis Syndrome

  • Acute renal failure, hyperkalemia, hypocalcemia, hyperuricemia, or hyperphosphatemia from tumor lysis, some fatal, can occur within 12−24 hours after the first infusion of RITUXAN in patients with NHL. A high number of circulating malignant cells (≥25,000/mm3) or high tumor burden, confers a greater risk of TLS. Administer aggressive intravenous hydration and anti hyperuricemic therapy in patients at high risk for TLS


  • Serious, including fatal, bacterial, fungal, and new or reactivated viral infections can occur during and following the completion of RITUXAN-based therapy. Discontinue RITUXAN for serious infections and institute appropriate anti infective therapy


  • Discontinue infusions for serious or life threatening cardiac arrhythmias. Perform cardiac monitoring during and after all infusions of RITUXAN for patients who develop clinically significant arrhythmias, or who have a history of arrhythmia or angina


  • Severe, including fatal, renal toxicity can occur after RITUXAN administration in patients with NHL. Monitor closely for signs of renal failure and discontinue RITUXAN in patients with a rising serum creatinine or oliguria

Bowel Obstruction and Perforation

  • Abdominal pain, bowel obstruction and perforation, in some cases leading to death, can occur in patients receiving RITUXAN in combination with chemotherapy. Evaluate if symptoms of obstruction such as abdominal pain or repeated vomiting occur


  • The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines following RITUXAN therapy has not been studied and vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended

Laboratory Monitoring

  • Obtain complete blood counts (CBC) prior to each RITUXAN course

Additional Important Safety Information

  • The most common Grade 3 or 4 adverse reactions in clinical trials of NHL and CLL were infusion reactions, neutropenia, leukopenia, anemia, thrombocytopenia, and infections. Additionally, lymphopenia and lung disorder were seen in NHL trials; and febrile neutropenia, pancytopenia, hypotension, and hepatitis B were seen in CLL trials
  • The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥25%) in clinical trials of NHL and CLL were infusion reactions. Additionally, fever, lymphopenia, chills, infection, and asthenia were seen in NHL trials; and neutropenia was seen in CLL trials
  • Pregnancy: Category C. There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of rituximab in pregnant women

For additional safety information, please see the full prescribing information, including BOXED WARNINGS and Medication Guide.

Attention Healthcare Provider: Provide Medication Guide to patient prior to RITUXAN infusion.

You may report side effects to the FDA at (800) FDA-1088 or

You may also report side effects to Genentech at (888) 835-2555.