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Chaitra Ujjani, MD


Monoclonal Antibodies in Advanced B-cell Lymphomas

February 15, 2010

he treatment of B-cell malignancies has been revolutionized by the availability of safe and effective monoclonal antibodies. The addition of rituximab to standard chemotherapy regimens prolongs the survival of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and follicular non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Nevertheless, indolent and mantle cell lymphomas remain incurable, and 30% to 40% of patients with DLBCL still die from their disease. Much ongoing research has focused on optimizing monoclonal antibody use, integrating them into multiagent regimens, and developing newer antibodies. Attempts to improve on the efficacy of monoclonal antibody–based therapy have included altering the dosing schedule, optimizing patient selection, maintenance therapy, improving upon the rituximab molecule, radioimmunotherapy, as well as combinations with cytotoxic molecules and other novel agents. Preliminary data with a number of treatment regimens are promising in indolent and aggressive lymphomas. The eventual goal of targeted therapies is to individualize treatment to increase response and survival, while reducing treatment-related toxicity.