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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 84

of 'Treatment of relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia'

Case/control study of the role of splenectomy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Seymour JF, Cusack JD, Lerner SA, Pollock RE, Keating MJ
J Clin Oncol. 1997;15(1):52.
PURPOSE: This retrospective analysis was performed to evaluate critically the morbidity and mortality of splenectomy in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and to determine the probability of hematologic response. Further, using a case/control format based on multivariate analysis-derived predictors of survival, we evaluated the influence of splenectomy on survival.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between 1971 and 1993, 55 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia underwent splenectomy. They were compared with 55 fludarabine-treated patients who had been matched for age, serum albumin level, sex, hemoglobin level, Rai stage, number of prior therapies, and time from diagnosis.
RESULTS: In the perioperative period, blood-product usage was modest, and common morbidities were limited to minor infections in 18% of the patients and pneumonia/atelectasis in 25%. Perioperative mortality was 9%. Deaths were related to septic complications in all cases and associated with a preoperative performance status>or = 2 (P = .05). The only predictor identified for hemoglobin and neutrophil increments was spleen weight (P<.05). No factors predictive of platelet increment were identified. The early death rate (within 30 days) and overall survival of splenectomy and control patients were not significantly different (P>.2). Among Rai stage IV patients, those who were splenectomized displayed a strong trend for improved overall survival (P = .15 by log-rank test). The 2-year actuarial survival rate of Rai stage IV patients was 51% +/- 9% in the splenectomy group and 28% +/- 9% in the control group.
CONCLUSION: Splenectomy can be performed with modest morbidity, mortality, and resource utilization in patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia and significant cytopenias. The procedure results in major hematologic benefits in most patients, with hemoglobin and neutrophil increments correlated with spleen weight. Overall, the survival of splenectomized patients is equivalent to control patients. Thrombocytopenic patients (<100 x 10(9)/L) are most likely to obtain hematologic benefit, and potentially enjoy improved survival. These patients would be suitable for a randomized study to establish definitively the role of splenectomy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Department of Clinical Haematology and Medical Oncology, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Australia.