Chemoimmunotherapeutic agents boost lymphocytic leukaemia survival

14 Nov 2021
Chemoimmunotherapeutic agents boost lymphocytic leukaemia survival

The introduction and use of chemoimmunotherapeutic agents such as rituximab, ofatumumab, and obinutuzumab has led to population-level improvements in survival from chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), a recent study has found.

Drawing data from the cancer registry of North-Rhine Westphalia, a state in west Germany, the researchers compared relative survival (RS) from CLL before vs after chemoimmunotherapy was introduced in 2010.

From 1993–2016, the researchers documented 2,327 CLL patients aged 15–79 years, 1,412 of whom were men. Age-standardized 5-year relative survival (RS) in men showed an initial decrease from 79.2 percent in 1998–2002 to 75.1 percent in 2003–2007. However, this was followed by a progressive increase to 81.3 percent in 2008–2012 and 88.0 percent in 2013–2016.

Similar patterns were reported for women, in whom age-standardized 5-year RS jumped from 70.8 percent in 1998–2002 to 92.1 percent in 2103–2016.

Such increases in 5-year RS estimates suggest that in men aged 16–69 years, the introduction of chemoimmunotherapy contributed to a survival increase of approximately 7 percentage points. A similar effect was reported for women of the same age, with such agents contributing to nearly 10 percentage points of RS improvements.

Notably, the introduction of chemoimmunotherapeutic agents yielded a stronger benefit for older adults aged 70–79 years, leading to around 13 and 15 percentage point improvements in 5-year RS in men and women, respectively.

“The results presented here show a marked increase of the overall survival in the era with monoclonal anti-CD20 antibodies when compared to the era before, where these antibodies were not available for CLL therapy. It must therefore remain a goal to publish relevant study results without delay and to update guidelines for routine care as quickly as possible,” the researchers said.

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