Frontline treatment of follicular lymphoma with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab followed by rituximab maintenance: toxicities overcome its high antilymphoma effect. Results from a Spanish Cooperative Trial (LNHF-03)
José Francisco Tomás 1 , Carlos Montalbán, Alberto Fernández De Sevilla, Joaquín Martínez-López, Nicolás Díaz, Miguel Canales, Rafael Martínez, Pedro Sánchez-Godoy, María Dolores Caballero, Javier Peñalver, Elena Prieto, Antonio Salar, Carmen Burgaleta, José Antonio Queizán, Roberto Bajo, Raquel De Oña, Javier De La Serna
We assessed the efficacy of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab in combination (FCR) as frontline treatment in patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) followed by rituximab maintenance.
Seventy-five untreated patients with FL received FCR followed by maintenance with rituximab 375 mg/m(2) weekly during 4 weeks and every 6 months for 2 years.
The overall response rate was 100%, with 89% complete remission (CR) and 11% partial remission (PR). Molecular remission was observed in all but one patient. Only eight patients completed all therapy planned. With a median follow-up of 47 months, the 5-year overall survival (OS), progression-free survival (PFS), and event-free survival (EFS) were 77%, 93%, and 72%, respectively.
Age below 60 and low Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index (FLIPI) correlated with a better EFS. Ten patients died due to toxic complications. The FCR regimen is highly effective in untreated patients with FL, with 89% CR, including molecular responses, and a low progression rate.
However, the high incidence of treatment-related mortality makes this regimen unsafe and it cannot be recommended as an upfront therapy in FL.