RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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High response rate and durable remissions following fludarabine and rituximab combination therapy for chronic cold agglutinin disease.

Blood 2010 October 29
Most patients diagnosed with primary chronic cold agglutinin disease (CAD) have a clonal lymphoproliferative bone marrow disorder. Treatment with rituximab is the only well-documented effective therapy, leading to 45%-60% partial responses (PR). Complete responses (CR) are rare, and median response duration is only 11 months. In a prospective multicenter trial, 29 patients received rituximab 375 mg/m(2) on days 1, 29, 57 and 85; and fludarabine orally, 40 mg/m(2) on days 1-5, 29-34, 57-61 and 85-89. Twenty-two patients (76%) responded, 6 (21%) achieving CR and 16 (55%) PR. Among 10 patients nonresponsive to rituximab monotherapy, 1 achieved CR and 6 PR. Median increase in hemoglobin level was 3.1 g/dL among the responders and 4.0 g/dL in those who achieved CR. Lower quartile of response duration was not reached after 33 months. Estimated median response duration was more than 66 months. Grade 3-4 hematologic toxicity occurred in 12 patients (41%). In conclusion, fludarabine and rituximab combination therapy is very efficient in patients with CAD. Toxicity may be a concern, and benefits should be carefully weighed against risks in very old and comorbid patients. It remains to be established whether the combination should be first-line or an efficient second-line therapy in CAD patients requiring treatment.

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