Two Years of Rituxan for Lymphoma — Now What?
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I’ve had follicular non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma since 2001. I had Rituxan treatment for four consecutive weeks, then every other month for three maintenance treatments. The last was in August of 2005. I understand Rituxan to be effective for an average of two years, which I have now exceeded. What is the mathematical curve of recurrence? Is it one to three years, 0 to 4 years, or some odd shape? Tough question, I know. Thanks.
At this point, the majority of studies using maintenance Rituxan (rituximab) have used the drug for a maximum of two years. In one study where previously untreated patients received Rituxan alone followed by maintenance therapy (though given on a different schedule than what you received), patients remained free of progression of disease on average for nearly three years.
That being said, follicular lymphoma is a heterogeneous disease, and some patients will have very slow-growing disease, where other patients progress more rapidly. In addition, the volume of disease, the stage and other factors at the time of initial treatment have a significant impact on the length of remission. For instance, a patient with a small amount of slow-growing disease is likely to stay in remission longer than a patient with extensive, bulky disease.
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