Background: The superiority of a chemotherapy with doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vindesine, bleomycin and prednisone (ACVBP) in comparison with cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristin and prednisone plus radiotherapy for young patients with localized diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) was previously demonstrated. We report the results of a trial which evaluates the role of rituximab combined with ACVBP (R-ACVBP) in these patients.
Patients and methods: Untreated patients younger than 66 years with stage I or II DLBCL and no adverse prognostic factors of the age-adjusted International Prognostic Index were randomly assigned to receive three cycles of ACVBP plus sequential consolidation with or without the addition of four infusions of rituximab.
Results: A total of 223 patients were randomly allocated to the study, 110 in the R-ACVBP group and 113 in the ACVBP group. After a median follow-up of 43 months, our 3-year estimate of event-free survival was 93% in the R-ACVBP group and 82% in the ACVBP group (P = 0.0487). Three-year estimate of progression-free survival was increased in the R-ACVBP group (95% versus 83%, P = 0.0205). Overall survival did not differ between the two groups with a 3-year estimates of 98% and 97%, respectively (P = 0.686).
Conclusion: In young patients with low-risk localized DLBCL, rituximab combined with three cycles of ACVBP plus consolidation is significantly superior to ACVBP plus consolidation alone.