Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) is the most common hematologic cancer in adults. Rituximab is a chimeric anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody that transformed the outcome of the B- lymphoproliferative disorders . Treatment with rituximab is relatively safe but occasionally serious.
To evaluate the safety of Rituximab in the treatment of Iraqi adult patients with B- lymphoproliferative disorders.
PATIENTS AND METHODS:
A total of 100 patients with low grade, high grade B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who were admitted to the Haematology unit of Baghdad Teaching Hospital to receive their scheduled Rituximab containing protocol were included in this cohort prospective study between April 2011 to march 2012 .The patients were divided into two groups according to the presence or absence of infusional side effects of rituximab. Infusional side effects of rituximab were recorded with each dose and correlate them with certain patients’ parameters including age, gender and serum LDH .
Fever (36%), Rigor (28%) and nausea and vomiting (23%) were the most prevalent infusional side effects of rituximab in both NHL and CLL, with most of these infusional side effects occur in the first infusion. One treatment related mortality occurred. Infusional side effects of rituximab were more prevalent in CLL than other patients with NHL (P=0.0005) and in those with normal serum LDH(P=0.046)
Rituximb-induced infusional side effects in this study are more common in the first infusion, and patients with CLL . Most of infusional side effects are mild of grade one or two although one fatal side effect had occurred.