We explored the safety and efficacy of rituximab administered in combination with the standard transplant conditioning regimen of cyclophosphamide (Cy) 120 mg/kg and total body irradiation (TBI) 12 Gy for adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Patients were eligible if their disease expressed CD20. Rituximab was administered at 375 mg/m2 weekly for four doses beginning on day -7 of the conditioning regimen. Graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) prophylaxis consisted of tacrolimus and methotrexate. Thirty-five patients undergoing matched sibling (n=23) or unrelated donor (n=12) transplantation were studied, with a median age of 30 years (range 15-55 years). At 2 years, progression-free survival, treatment-related mortality, and overall survival were 30, 24, and 47%, respectively. There was no delay in engraftment or increased incidence of infection. The cumulative incidence of grade II-IV acute GVHD was 17%, and limited and extensive chronic GVHD was 43% at 2 years. The addition of rituximab to the standard Cy/TBI transplant conditioning regimen in ALL was safe and well tolerated, and there was a suggestion of decreased incidence of acute GVHD when compared to historically reported GVHD rates for this group of patients.
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