Radioimmunotherapy (RIT) has been successfully used to treat primary and relapsed/refractory CD20+ Non-Hodgkin-Lymphoma (NHL). Myeloablative anti-CD20 RIT allows delivering high radiation doses to lymphoma sites when followed by autologous stem cell infusion (autoSCT). However, RIT is infrequently used at present and long-term data is lacking.
23 patients with relapsed/refractory CD20+ NHL who did not achieve a complete response to salvage chemotherapy were enrolled in this Phase I/II trial to evaluate RIT with 131I-labelled Rituximab (131I-R) in a myeloablative setting between January 2000 and October 2004. Biodistribution and dosimetry studies were performed in all patients to determine 131I activity required to induce a total body dose of 21 to 27 Gy to the critical organs lung and kidney. In 6/23 patients RIT was combined with high dose chemotherapy (HD-CTx) followed by autoSCT. 8/23 patients received a sequential HD-CTx with a second autoSCT. The median follow-up is 9.5 years.
188–525 mCi 131I were delivered to achieve the limiting organ dose. No grade 3/4 non-hematologic toxicity was seen with RIT alone. Significant grade 3/4 toxicity (mucositis, neutropenic fever, pneumonia, sepsis) including one therapy related death was observed in all patients treated with RIT combined with HD-CTx/autoSCT. The overall response rate was 87% (64% complete response rate). The median progression free (PFS) and overall survival are 47.5 and 101.5 months. After long-term follow up, 9 patients are progression free and 10 patients are alive. An elevated (>1) international prognostic index (IPI) was most predictive for overall survival.
Myeloablative 131I-Rituximab RIT followed by autoSCT is feasible, well tolerated and effective in high risk CD20+ NHL and prolongs PFS compared to last standard chemotherapy. Patients additionally treated with high dose chemotherapy experienced significantly increased toxicity. Long-term results for progression free survival and overall survival in this trial are encouraging.
No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.