Randomised phase III study of R-ICE versus R-DHAP in relapsed patients with CD20 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) followed by high-dose therapy and a second randomisation to maintenance treatment with rituximab or not: an update of the CORAL study

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The multicentre phase III CORAL study aims to guide choice of salvage chemotherapy in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and assess the role of rituximab maintenance after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT). Patients are first randomised between ICE (ifosfamide, carboplatin, etoposide) and DHAP (dexamethasone, ara-C and cisplatin), both combined with rituximab (R-ICE or R-DHAP). After three courses, responders are treated by ASCT with BEAM. A second randomisation then allocates patients to maintenance treatment with rituximab 375 mg/m2, one injection every 2 months six times, or observation. Accrual to the study is now proceeding well and the planned 400 patients are likely to be enrolled within the next 1.5 years. Results to date are very preliminary but suggest encouraging rates of response. However, they also indicate that initial exposure to rituximab may increase the difficulty of salvaging patients who fail first-line therapy.

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