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Posted by on Jun 9, 2018 in Leukemia | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study aimed to measure the effectiveness of bendamustine and rituximab as salvage treatment in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This study concluded that bendamustine and rituximab are as effective as ibrutinib as salvage treatment in these patients.

Some background

The standard treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is chemotherapy. Salvage therapy is sometimes administered after a standard treatment is not effective. Bendamustine (Treanda) is a chemotherapy used for CLL patients. Rituximab (rituxan) targets a protein on the cancer cell surface, allowing the immune system to attack. It was suggested that a combination of bendamustine and rituximab (BR) could be used in CLL patients.

It was unknown if this combination of BR would be effective as a salvage therapy in patients with CLL.

Methods & findings

This study involved 237 patients treated with BR.

The average time to disease progression was 25 months. Patients with 17p deletion, unmutated IGHV and advanced stage CLL had shorter PFS.

The average time to next treatment was 31.3 months. Patients who were treated with chemoimmunotherapy had a shorter time to next treatment. Chemoimmunotherapy is a combination of chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

The average overall survival (OS, time from treatment until death from any cause) was 74.5 months. Patients who have advanced stage and resistant disease had shorter OS. The OS for BR patients was 74.4% at 36 months compared to 63% at 36 months for those treated with ibrutinib (Imbruvica, another form of salvage therapy).

33% of patients reported a severe side effect. The most common were low levels of different types of blood cells. Serious infections occured in 16 patients.

The bottom line

This study concluded that the BR combination was as effective as ibrutinib as salvage treatment in CLL patients.

What’s next?

Consult your physician about salvage therapy options for CLL.

Published By :


Date :

Apr 19, 2018

Original Title :

Efficacy of bendamustine and rituximab as first salvage treatment in chronic lymphocytic leukemia and indirect comparison with ibrutinib: a GIMEMA, ERIC and UK CLL FORUM study.

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