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ABSTRACT: To retrospectively assess the efficacy of bendamustine alone and with rituximab (R-B), 109 patients with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) were enrolled in 24 Italian centres. The median age was 66 years (range 39-85). Forty-three percent of patients had relapsed and 57% were resistant (median previous therapies = 3; range 1-8). Twenty-two patients received bendamustine alone and 87 patients received R-B (median B dosage: 100 mg/m(2) per day, range 90-130 mg/m(2) per day). The overall response rate was 69·6% (complete response 28·6%; partial response 41%), and was significantly higher in patients treated with R-B (P = 0·014) and in those responsive to the previous treatment (P=0·04). After a median follow-up of 7·9 months (range 1-148), the median progression-free survival was 16 months and the median duration of response was 13 months. Median overall survival (OS) was 16·8 months for the whole cohort; patients not responding to the treatment had a significantly worse outcome than those who attained a response (P = 0·0001). In multivariate analysis, only resistant disease status at start of bendamustine treatment (HR 3·2, 95% CI 1·4-7·3, P = 0·006) had an independent prognostic value for OS. Toxicity was manageable and mostly haematological. In conclusion, in our experience R-B was an effective and well-tolerated treatment for relapsed/refractory CLL patients, producing a remarkable high CR rate and mild toxicity.
British Journal of Haematology 03/2011; 153(3):351-7. · 4.94 Impact Factor