Besides traditional cytostatic drugs the introduction of monoclonal antibodies has substantially influenced current treatment concepts of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Rituximab, a monoclonal anti-CD20 chimeric antibody, now has been widely evaluated in the various B-cell lymphatic neoplasms. Large phase III studies helped to prove the value of this drug in follicular lymphoma as part of induction or relapse treatment as well as maintenance treatment. The addition of rituximab to the well established CHOP regimens has increased achievable cure rates in diffuse large cell lymphoma, and this combination is now accepted worldwide as standard of care. Although conflicting results are available, rituximab is widely used for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma. For the less frequent lymphoma entities phase 2 studies show a considerable efficiency for most of these B-NHL variants. Current research focuses on combined chemoimmunotherapy approaches, optimization of dosing regimens, and combination with novel agents.
Keywords: monoclonal-antibody; non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma; rituximab; targeted therapy.