Purpose: To evaluate efficacy and safety of iodine-131 (131I) -rituximab chimeric anti-CD20 antibody radioimmunotherapy in patients with relapsed or refractory indolent non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).
Patients and methods: After a standard loading dose of rituximab 375 mg/m2, individualized dosimetry was performed by whole-body gamma imaging of a tracer activity of 131I-rituximab followed by administration of a therapeutic activity of 131I-rituximab to deliver an estimated whole-body radiation absorbed dose of 0.75 Gy.
Results: Ninety-one patients were entered onto the trial: 78 patients (86%) had follicular lymphoma, six patients (7%) had mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue/marginal zone lymphoma, and seven patients (8%) had small lymphocytic lymphoma. The objective overall response rate (ORR) was 76%, with 53% attaining a complete response (CR) or CR unconfirmed (CRu). Median duration of response for patients achieving CR/CRu was 20 v 7 months for those with a partial response (P = .0121). Median progression-free survival for the entire cohort was 13 months, with 14% remaining relapse free beyond 4 years. Median follow-up was 23 months, with a 4-year actuarial survival rate of 59% +/- 10%. Toxicity was principally hematologic; grade 4 thrombocytopenia occurred in 4% and neutropenia occurred in 16% of patients, with nadirs at 6 to 7 weeks after treatment.
Conclusion: 131I-rituximab radioimmunotherapy of relapsed or refractory indolent NHL achieves high ORR and CR rates with minimal toxicity.