Post-autologous transplant maintenance therapies in lymphoma: current state and future directions
Disease relapse following high-dose chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) remains the principal cause of mortality in patients with relapsed or refractory lymphomas. In an effort to prevent post-ASCT relapse, a number of studies have evaluated the role of maintenance therapy with varying success. In diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, studies evaluating maintenance rituximab (MR) following ASCT failed to demonstrate improved outcomes. In follicular lymphoma, MR was associated with an improvement in PFS; however, no overall survival (OS) benefit was noted. Emerging data evaluating MR in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) have demonstrated improvements in PFS, although a consistent improvement in OS has yet to be demonstrated. Given the aggressive and incurable nature of MCL, it is prudent for practitioners to weigh the risks and benefits of MR in the post-ASCT setting. Similarly, post-ASCT maintenance therapy with brentuximab vedotin in Hodgkin lymphoma, has led to improved PFS and may be considered in those with a high risk of relapse. Ongoing clinical studies evaluating a multitude of novel maintenance therapies are crucial to the efforts of further defining and optimizing the role of post-transplant maintenance therapy in lymphoma.