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Posted by on Oct 30, 2018 in Leukemia | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study looked at the treatment of low blood cell counts in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Researchers found that targeted therapies are effective in the treatment of this condition in CLL.

Some background

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a cancer of the bone marrow. A complication of CLL is when the body attacks its own blood cells and destroys them (AIC – autoimmune cytopenia). This can make patients very ill by leading to more infections. Targeted therapies are drugs which attack specific proteins on cancer cells. It is important to research the effectiveness of treatments for this condition.

Methods & findings

Current knowledge on the diagnosis and treatment plans for AIC in patients with CLL was reviewed.

A bone marrow biopsy is used to test blood and diagnose AIC. Initially treating with steroids is recommended. Combining rituximab (Rituxan), cyclosporine A (Neoral) and G-CSF (Filgrastim) improved white cell counts in patients with CLL and AIC.

In one study, 300 patients with CLL were treated with rituximab (Rituxan), fludarabine (Fludara) and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) (R-FC). 9 of these patients had AIC and 6 responded to the R-FC treatment plus steroids. WIth the bendamustine (Treanda) and rituximab treatment plan, 31% of patients had a complete remission (no signs of disease after treatment). Ibrutinib (Imbruvica) worsened AIC during initial treatment in 9/13 patients. The addition of steroids resolved the AIC.

The bottom line

The study concluded that a range of treatment plans including steroids may be safe and effective in treating AIC and CLL.

What’s next?

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about AIC and CLL treatment.

Published By :

Expert review of Hematology

Date :

Jun 20, 2018

Original Title :

Autoimmune cytopenias in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a concise review and treatment recommendations.

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