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Rituximab maintenance versus retreatment in follicular lymphoma


  • Financial disclosure: None relevant to the article.

  • Ethics statement: The manuscript is not reporting experiments on human subjects or a clinical trial. No protected patient information is included. Being a review article, it is exempt from institutional review board or ethics committee approval at the authors' institution.


Follicular lymphoma (FL) is the most common type of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although the introduction of the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab has represented a major breakthrough, FL remains incurable with standard chemoimmunotherapies. The goals of therapy in symptomatic FL patients include the following: obtaining high response rates, extending the duration of remission, prolongation of survival and improving quality of life, while minimizing adverse events. To extend remission duration and possibly survival outcomes, maintenance therapy with rituximab has been shown to be effective in both frontline and relapsed/refractory settings. However, the optimal timing, schedule and length of maintenance therapy are controversial. Herein, we review the current data for maintenance rituximab in FL, discuss the current controversies for this modality, attempt to define its role relative to the more conservative retreatment approach and provide practical recommendations for its clinical use. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.