February 2014, Vol 3, No 1

← Back to Issue

Anti-CD20 Agent Improves Outcomes in Elderly/Unfit Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia


Elderly and unfit patients constitute the majority of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), but unfortunately these groups have limited treatment options. A second-generation fully humanized monoclonal antibody against the CD20 protein, ofatumumab, added to chlorambucil improves clinical outcomes and is tolerable irrespective of age and fitness in patients with previously untreated CLL who are considered inappropriate for fludarabine, according to the results of a phase 3 study.

In older CLL patients who are unfit for the gold standard therapy of fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab, chlorambucil using various dosing schedules remains a treatment option, said Peter Hillmen, MD, PhD, lead investigator of the study and consultant hematologist, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, St. James University Hospital, Leeds, UK.

Ofatumumab has a discrete epitope that targets both the small and large extracellular loops of CD20. In vitro, it displays more activity through complement and through antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity than rituximab.

In the phase 3 study, known as COMPLEMENT 1, 447 patients with previously untreated CLL who were considered inappropriate for fludarabine-based therapy based on advanced age and/or comorbidities were randomized to chlorambucil or ofatumumab plus chlorambucil until best response. Ofatumumab was given as an intravenous infusion for a maximum 12 cycles. Chlorambucil was dosed orally at 10 mg/m2 on days 1 through 7 of each 28-day cycle.

About one-fourth of the patients were older than 75 years; 87% in each group were either ?65 years or had ?2 comorbidities or a creatinine clearance <70 mL/min and thus ineligible for flu­dar­abine, said Hillmen.

Nineteen percent of patients in each arm required chlorambucil dose reduction as a result of experiencing neutropenia. After a median follow-up of 28.9 months, progression-free survival, as assessed by an Independent Review Committee, was 22.4 months in the ofatumu­mab-chlorambucil arm compared with 13.1 months in the chlorambucil alone arm, corresponding to a 43% improvement with ofatumumab (P=.001). Overall survival (OS) was also significantly superior in the ofatumumab arm (82% vs 69%; P<.001), as was the rate of complete response (14% vs 1%). The median OS was not reached in either arm.

Twelve percent in the ofatumumab-chlorambucil arm were negative for minimal residual disease compared with 4% in the chlorambucil alone arm.
There was a trend toward a shorter time to response in the ofatumumab-chlorambucil arm versus the chlorambucil alone arm (median: 1.1 vs 1.9 month; P=.084). The median duration of response was longer in the ofatumu­mab-chlorambucil arm at 22.1 versus 13.1 months (P<.001) in the chlorambucil alone arm. The time to next treatment was also significantly longer in the ofatumu­mab-chlorambucil arm versus chlorambucil alone, with a median 39.8 versus 24.7 months (P<.001).

More than 80% of patients completed at least 6 cycles. Combination treatment was well tolerated. The rate of withdrawal from treatment due to adverse events was 13% in each arm. The rate of grade ?3 adverse events was 50% with ofatumumab-chlorambucil versus 43% with chlorambucil alone; 10% in the ofatumu­mab-chlorambucil arm had grade ?3 infusion reactions. There was a higher rate of grade ?3 neutropenia in patients assigned to ofatumumab-chlorambucil compared with chlorambucil alone (26% vs 14%), but this difference did not translate into a higher risk of infection, said Hillmen.

Uncategorized - February 24, 2014

FIRST Trial Shows Value of Continued Use of Lenalidomide in Newly Diagnosed Myeloma Patients

The value of the continued use of lenalidomide in patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma was front and center among more than 800 abstracts on multiple myeloma presented at ASH. Featured in a Plenary Session were results from the phase 3 FIRST trial (Frontline Investigation of Revli­mid + Dexamethasone Versus [ Read More ]

Uncategorized - February 24, 2014

Novel CAR-T Therapy Topped the News at ASH

Excitement was palpable at ASH this year over a novel approach to treating subtypes of leukemia and lymphoma. Although still limited to pilot studies in small numbers of patients, the findings for engineered T cells – so called CAR-T therapy – are very impressive. Patients with highly aggressive and refractory [ Read More ]