Rituximab: A benchmark in the development of chemotherapy-free treatment strategies for follicular lymphomas

R. Karmali*, E. Kimby, M. Ghielmini, I. W. Flinn, L. I. Gordon, E. Zucca

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Background: With the introduction of the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab, the outcome of patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) has greatly improved over the last two decades. First-line prolonged rituximab monotherapy is effective, achieving longterm remission and prolonged failure-free survival in some patients. Additionally, rituximab has been shown to synergize with chemotherapeutic and novel targeted agents alike with measurable gains in duration of response. As such, rituximab has made its mark in the treatment of FL and remains a valid agent despite the availability of newer monoclonal antibodies. This review summarizes the evolving role of rituximab as the first available anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, emphasizing its clear activity as a single agent and in combination with chemotherapy or molecular targeted agents, and setting the standard for the development of new anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies. Conclusion: We provide data that support the ongoing use of rituximab as a therapeutic partner for novel agents in future clinical trials exploring chemotherapy-free alternatives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-340
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Ibrutinib
  • Lenalidomide
  • Maintenance
  • Obinutuzumab
  • Rituximab

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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