Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
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Chemoimmunotherapy with fludarabine and rituximab produces extended overall survival and progression-free survival in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: long-term follow-up of CALGB study 9712.

PURPOSE: The addition of rituximab to fludarabine-based regimens in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has been shown to produce high response rates with extended remissions. The long-term follow-up of these regimens with respect to progression, survival, risk of secondary leukemia, and impact of genomic risk factors has been limited.

METHODS: We report the long-term follow-up of the chemoimmunotherapy trial CALGB 9712 from the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, for which treatment regimen was previously reported, to examine end points of progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), impact of genomic features, and risk of therapy-related myeloid neoplasm (t-MN).

RESULTS: A total of 104 patients were enrolled on this study and now have a median follow-up of 117 months (range, 66 to 131 months). The median OS was 85 months, and 71% of patients were alive at 5 years. The median PFS was 42 months, and 27% were progression free at 5 years. An estimated 13% remained free of progression at almost 10 years of follow-up. Multivariable models of PFS and OS showed that immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region mutational status was significant for both, whereas cytogenetic abnormalities were significant only for OS. No patient developed t-MN before relapse.

CONCLUSION: Long-term follow-up of CALGB 9712 demonstrates extended OS and PFS with fludarabine plus rituximab. Patients treated with fludarabine plus rituximab administered concurrently or sequentially have a low risk of t-MN. These long-term data support fludarabine plus rituximab as one acceptable first-line treatment for symptomatic patients with CLL.

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