Annals of Hematology
Patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) are treated with salvage regimens and may be considered for high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation if disease is chemosensitive. Bendamustine is active in indolent B cell lymphomas and chronic lymphocytic leukemia but has not been extensively studied in aggressive lymphomas. This trial examines the combination of bendamustine and rituximab in patients with relapsed and refractory DLBCL. Patients received bendamustine at 90 mg/m2 (n = 2) or 120 mg/m2 (n = 57) on days 1 and 2 and rituximab at 375 mg/m2 on day 1 every 28 days for up to 6 cycles. The study evaluated objective response rate (ORR), duration of response (DOR), progression-free survival (PFS), and treatment safety. Fifty-nine patients were treated, and 48 were evaluable for response. Median age was 74; 89 % had stage III or IV disease, and 63 % had high revised International Prognostic Index scores; the median number of prior therapies was 1. Based on analysis using the intent-to-treat population, the ORR was 45.8 % (complete response, 15.3 %; partial response, 30.5 %). The median DOR was 17.3 months, and the median PFS was 3.6 months. Grade 3 or 4 hematological toxicities included neutropenia (36 %), leukopenia (29 %), thrombocytopenia (22 %), and anemia (12 %). The combination of bendamustine and rituximab showed modest activity in patients with relapsed and refractory DLBCL and has an acceptable toxicity profile.
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