Maintenance therapy is sometimes given after initial treatment has put the lymphoma into remission (no evidence of disease). It is used to make the remission last as long as possible by suppressing any lymphoma cells that can’t be detected by scans after the main treatment has finished.
Rituximab is an antibody therapy that is given as maintenance treatment to people with advanced low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma who go into remission after chemotherapy. Maintenance rituximab is given once every 2–3 months. It is currently given for a maximum period of 2 years although clinical trials are testing whether there is any benefit in maintenance treatment continuing for longer. For maintenance therapy, rituximab may be given intravenously (by injection into a vein) or subcutaneously (by injection under the skin).
Children and young people with lymphoblastic lymphoma may be given maintenance treatment with chemotherapy to prevent their lymphoma relapsing. This is a less intensive course of chemotherapy, usually given as an outpatient over a couple of years. Rituximab is not currently approved for use in children.