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BMC Cancer

, 10:231

First Online: 24 May 2010Received: 05 August 2009Accepted: 24 May 2010DOI: 10.1186-1471-2407-10-231

Cite this article as: Yu, X.Q., Chen, W.H. & O-Connell, D.L. BMC Cancer 2010 10: 231. doi:10.1186-1471-2407-10-231


BackgroundWe evaluated if the survival benefit of adding rituximab to standard chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma NHL observed in clinical trials has been experienced by an Australian NHL patient population.

MethodsNHL cases diagnosed in 1985-2004 in New South Wales NSW were followed-up to the end of 2004. Rituximab prescription data were obtained from Medicare Australia. Using a Poisson regression model adjusted for age group, sex, NHL subtype and time period 1990-1994, 1995-1999 and 2000-2004, we estimated excess risk of death after a diagnosis of NHL. To give context to the survival trend, trends in incidence and mortality were also estimated.

ResultsCompared with 1990-1994, after adjusting for age, sex and NHL subtype the relative excess risk of death was significantly lower p < 0.0001 in 1995-1999 0.89 and 2000-2004 0.74. A sharp fall in mortality was observed from 2000 to 2004 annual percentage change APC = -4.7, p = 0.009, while a small but significant rise in incidence was seen from 1990 to 2004 APC = 0.5, p = 0.01. The number of times rituximab was dispensed in NSW increased rapidly from 1274 in 1999 to 9250 in 2004.

ConclusionIt is likely that some benefit of adding rituximab to the standard chemotherapy for NHL has been experienced at the population level.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2407-10-231 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Xue Q Yu - Wendy H Chen - Dianne L O-Connell


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