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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 128

of 'Treatment of relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia'

Eradication of minimal residual disease in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia after alemtuzumab therapy is associated with prolonged survival.
Moreton P, Kennedy B, Lucas G, Leach M, Rassam SM, Haynes A, Tighe J, Oscier D, Fegan C, Rawstron A, Hillmen P
J Clin Oncol. 2005;23(13):2971. Epub 2005 Feb 28.
PURPOSE: To test whether eradication of minimal residual disease (MRD) in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) by alemtuzumab is associated with a prolongation of treatment-free and overall survival.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ninety-one previously treated patients with CLL (74 men and 17 women; median age, 58 years [range, 32 to 75 years]; 44 were refractory to purine analogs) received a median of 9 weeks of alemtuzumab treatment between 1996 and 2003. Regular bone marrow assessments by MRD flow cytometry were performed with the aim of eradicating detectable MRD (<1 CLL cell in 10(5) normal cells).
RESULTS: Responses according to National Cancer Institute-sponsored working group response criteria were complete remission (CR) in 32 patients (36%), partial remission (PR) in 17 patients (19%), and no response (NR) in 42 patients (46%). Twenty-two (50%) of 44 purine analog-refractory patients responded to alemtuzumab. Detectable CLL was eradicated from the blood and marrow in 18 patients(20%). Median survival was significantly longer in MRD-negative patients compared with those achieving an MRD-positive CR, PR, or NR. Patients achieving an MRD-negative CR had a longer treatment-free survival than patients with MRD-positive CRs, PR, or NR: MRD-negative CRs, not reached; MRD-positive CRs, 20 months; PRs, 13 months; NR, 6 months (P<.0001). Overall survival for the 18 patients with MRD-negative remissions was 84% at 60 months. Eight (47%) of the MRD-negative patients converted to MRD positivity at a median of 28 months.
CONCLUSION: MRD-negative remission in CLL is achievable with alemtuzumab, leading to an improved overall and treatment-free survival.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals, NHS Trust, Great George St, Leeds, LS1 3EX United Kingdom. paul-moreton@ntlworld.com