14 Dec 2017

Subcutaneous vs intravenous rituximab treatment for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Subcutaneous vs intravenous rituximab treatment for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Intravenous (IV; medication delivered directly into the veins) rituximab plus chemotherapy is the standard of care. IV rituximab takes many hours to give to patients.

Subcutaneous (SC; injection under the skin) rituximab plus chemotherapy has been shown to be more convenient for patients. Research is needed to confirm that SC rituximab is just as safe and effective as IV rituximab. 

572 patients participated in this study. 378 were randomized to receive SC rituximab. These patients received 375 mg/m2 of IV rituximab for the first cycle and 1,400 mg of SC rituximab for cycles 2-8. 194 patients were randomized to receive IV rituximab. This group received 375 mg/m2 of IV rituximab for 8 cycles. All patients received CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone) chemotherapy. All patients had DLBCL. The average length of follow-up was 35 months.

The complete response rate (no detectable cancer) was slightly higher in the SC (45.7%) group compared to the IV (38.5%) group. The 2-year progression free survival rate (no disease progression) as 75% for the SC group. The 2-year progression free survival was 81.5% for the IV group. Safety was similar between the two treatments.

SC treatment took an average of 6 minutes to complete. IV treatment took an average of 2.6 – 3 hours to complete. Patients were significantly more satisfied with the amount of time it took to receive SC treatment compared to IV treatment.

Subcutaneous rituximab is just as safe and effective as intravenous rituximab, and more patients are satisfied with subcutaneous treatment.

Talk to your doctor to make sure you are getting the most effective and convenient treatment for your particular situation.