Five randomized trials (four Phase III and one phase II) have confirmed that rituximab maintenance therapy provides clinical meaningful improvements in terms of Progression Free Survival, Event Free Survival and response duration for patients. Two studies have also found an overall survival advantage for rituximab maintenance therapy (Hoechster et al. 2005, van Oers et al. 2005) and a third study could demonstrate a strong trend towards overall survival advantage (Dreyling et al. 2006). A Cochrane meta-analysis of several randomised Phase III trials (Schulz et al. 2005) demonstrated that rituximab plus-chemotherapy for first-line treatment of Follicular Lymphoma is superior to chemotherapy alone and significantly prolongs overall survival. To further broaden the available basis for maintenance treatment in the first-line and relapsed setting, the MAXIMA (MAintenance rituXImab in Follicular LymphoMA) trial has been started in August 2006 and will last 5 years. Patients with first line or relapsed/refractory advanced Follicular Lymphoma are included in this trial. In total 500 patients are planned for this international trial running in 23 countries.

Patients who achieve a Complete Remission, Complete Remission unconfirmed or Partial Remission after rituximab containing induction therapy (rituximab with or without chemotherapy) are eligible to enter the study to receive rituximab maintenance therapy administered at the standard dose of 375 mg/m2 every 2 months for 2 years. This regimen is also investigated in the ongoing PRIMA study, and also in an ongoing SAKK study which investigates the benefit of rituximab maintenance therapy for up to five years.

The previous five randomized trials did not detect significant safety issues for rituximab maintenance therapy. The main objective of the MAXIMA trial is to confirm this safety data in a wider patient population.

Secondary objectives of the study include standard time dependent parameters (PFS, EF, OS). In addition, the effect of rituximab maintenance therapy on improving response quality (PR =>CR) after induction therapy will be evaluated.

Disclosures: D.T. and S.O. are employed by Roche Pharma AG.; M.H., M.W.-H., P.D. and A.H. have received research grants from Roche Pharma AG.; M.H., and A.H. have received honoraria for scientific talks from Roche Pharma AG.

Author notes


Corresponding author