Rituximab plus chemotherapy induction followed by rituximab maintenance for up to 2 years confers long-term progression-free survival (PFS) benefit in patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is not known whether further prolonged maintenance with rituximab provides additional benefit. The phase III MabCute study enrolled 692 patients with relapsed or refractory indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Patients who responded to induction with rituximab plus chemotherapy and were still responding after up to 2 years’ initial maintenance with subcutaneous rituximab were randomized to extended maintenance with subcutaneous rituximab (n=138) or observation only (n=138). The primary endpoint of investigator-assessed PFS in the randomized population was un-addressed by the end of study because of an insufficient number of events (129 events were needed for 80% power at 5% significance if approximately 330 patients were randomized). In total, there were 46 PFS events, 19 and 27 in the rituximab and observation arms, respectively (P=0.410 by stratified log rank test; hazard ratio 0.76 [95% confidence interval: 0.37–1.53]). Median PFS was not reached in either randomized arm. There were no new safety signals; however, adverse events were seen slightly more frequently with rituximab than with observation during extended maintenance. Maintenance for up to 2 years with rituximab after response to initial induction therefore remains the standard of care in patients with relapsed or refractory indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
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