Subcutaneous rituximab versus intravenous rituximab – safety and efficacy results

Andrew Davies, MRCP, PhD, of the University of Southampton, Southampton, UK, discusses results comparing efficacy and safety of subcutaneous rituximab compared with intravenous rituximab. There is no doubt that the addition of rituximab to immune-chemotherapy in follicular lymphoma is associated with very good outcomes. Induction followed by rituximab maintenance has an expectation of median progression-free survival in excess 5 years. However, rituximab is associated with inconvenience for the patient as they must receive an intravenous (IV) infusion, which may take several hours. Subcutaneous rituximab is a new formulation of rituximab, it is concentrated 12-fold and includes human hyaluronidase, which allows a larger volume of subcutaneous injection. It was previously established in the first part of SABRINA (NCT01200758). The SABRINA study is a randomized Phase III trial looking at patients with follicular lymphoma with an indication for therapy. It was found that overall response rates (ORR) and the complete response rates (CRR) were the same between the subcutaneous and the IV rituximab-treated patients. Response rates were also the same for patients with a higher body surface area. Progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) has shown to be identical between the subcutaneous and the IV treated group. Therefore, the switch in formulation has no impact upon the efficacy of rituximab. Further, safety signals are exactly as one would expect with rituximab. Recorded at the 2016 American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, held in San Diego, CA.

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