Article

How I treat CLL up front

Institute of Cancer, Queen Mary University of London, Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry, London, United Kingdom.
Blood (Impact Factor: 9.78). 10/2009; 115(2):187-97. DOI: 10.1182/blood-2009-08-207126
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Although chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) remains incurable, over the past decade there have been major advances in understanding the pathophysiology of CLL and in the treatment of this disease. This has led to greatly increased response rates and durations of response but not yet improved survival. Advances in the use of prognostic factors that identify patients at high risk for progression have led us to the question whether there is still a role for a "watch and wait" approach in asymptomatic high-risk patients or whether they should be treated earlier in their disease course. Questions remain, including, what is the optimal first-line treatment and its timing and is there any role of maintenance therapy or stem cell transplantation in this disease? CLL is a disease of the elderly and not all patients are eligible for aggressive up-front chemoimmunotherapy regimens, so what is the optimal treatment approach for more frail elderly patients? It is highly likely that our treatment approaches will continue to evolve as the results of ongoing clinical trials are released and that further improvements in the outcome of this disease will result from identification of therapies that target the underlying pathophysiology of CLL.

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