Article: article from journal or magazin.
Targeting intratumoral B cells with rituximab in addition to CHOP in angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma. A clinicobiological study of the GELA.
Publication types: Journal ArticlePublication Status: ppublish
Background In angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, symptoms linked to B-lymphocyte activation are common, and variable numbers of CD20(+) large B-blasts, often infected by Epstein-Barr virus, are found in tumor tissues. We postulated that the disruption of putative B-T interactions and/or depletion of the Epstein-Barr virus reservoir by an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody (rituximab) could improve the clinical outcome produced by conventional chemotherapy. DESIGN AND METHODS: Twenty-five newly diagnosed patients were treated, in a phase II study, with eight cycles of rituximab + chemotherapy (R-CHOP21). Tumor infiltration, B-blasts and Epstein-Barr virus status in tumor tissue and peripheral blood were fully characterized at diagnosis and were correlated with clinical outcome. RESULTS: A complete response rate of 44% (95% CI, 24% to 65%) was observed. With a median follow-up of 24 months, the 2-year progression-free survival rate was 42% (95% CI, 22% to 61%) and overall survival rate was 62% (95% CI, 40% to 78%). The presence of Epstein-Barr virus DNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (14/21 patients) correlated with Epstein-Barr virus score in lymph nodes (P<0.004) and the detection of circulating tumor cells (P=0.0019). Despite peripheral Epstein-Barr virus clearance after treatment, the viral load at diagnosis (>100 copy/μg DNA) was associated with shorter progression-free survival (P=0.06). Conclusions We report here the results of the first clinical trial targeting both the neoplastic T cells and the microenvironment-associated CD20(+) B lymphocytes in angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma, showing no clear benefit of adding rituximab to conventional chemotherapy. A strong relationship, not previously described, between circulating Epstein-Barr virus and circulating tumor cells is highlighted.
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