Autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation is widely accepted as effective therapy for patients with relapsed aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and to a lesser extent, for indolent and mantle cell lymphoma, resulting in prolonged disease-free survival. Despite these advances, disease recurrence remains a problem and a major clinical challenge. Allogeneic transplantation has also been increasingly utilized in patients with relapsed aggressive and indolent lymphoma but is associated with high toxicity and graft-versus-host disease. Recently, nonmyeloablative preparatory regimens have shown encouraging results, attributed to graft-versus-lymphoma effects. Rituximab, a monoclonal antibody targeted against the CD20 antigen, is a potent therapeutic tool with documented efficacy in B-cell lymphomas. It is effective when used alone or in combination with chemotherapy, resulting in a significantly improved response rate compared with chemotherapy alone, in both aggressive and indolent lymphomas. Increasing evidence suggests that rituximab is also effective at in vivo purging prior to transplantation and may prevent relapse by eradication of residual disease when administered after transplantation. This review summarizes the available data on the use of rituximab and discusses the current evidence for its role in conjunction with auto- and allotransplantation.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Current hematology reports|
|State||Published - Jul 2005|