Experience with alemtuzumab in treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in the Netherlands.
until further notice
SourceNetherlands Journal of Medicine, 65, 9, (2007), pp. 333-338
Article / Letter to editor
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Netherlands Journal of Medicine
SubjectN4i 2: Invasive mycoses and compromised host; UMCN 1.5: Interventional oncology
BACKGROUND: Alemtuzumab (MabCampath) is a monoclonal antibody against CD52, indicated as third-line treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). As most important side effect opportunistic infections are mentioned. It is, however, unknown whether these complications often lead to problems in general patient care in the Netherlands. METHODS: To gain insight into the use and complications of alemtuzumab therapy, the alemtuzumab-treated CLL patients in 15 hospitals in the Netherlands were evaluated by means of a questionnaire. RESULTS: In the period from 31 October 2001 until 17 November 2005, 27 patients with CLL or prolymphocytic leukaemia (PLL), RAI stage I to IV, Binet stage A to C, received 32 treatments with alemtuzumab. The time from diagnosis until start of alemtuzumab treatment was 6 +/- 4.5 years (mean +/- SD ). The treatment lasted 11 +/- 7 weeks. Of the treatments, 41% could be administered for the full 12 weeks. The most frequent adverse events were fever (72%), shivering (47%), fatigue (22%) and dyspnoea (16%). Haematological side effects consisted of leucopenia (75%), thrombocytopenia (44%), and anaemia (13%). Infectious complications occurred in 12 of 32 (38%) treatments: pneumonia (25%; of which one Pneumocystis carini pneumonia and four Aspergillus infections), sepsis (9%; of which one Listeria), herpes zoster (9%), herpes simplex (6%), CMV reactivation (6%), meningitis (3%) and Guillain Barre (3%). The overall response was 53%, with complete remission in 13%, partial remission in 41%, stable disease in 25% and progressive disease in 13%, and lasted for 8.3 +/- 7.3 months. CONCLUSION: Treatment with alemtuzumab is often terminated prematurely, leading to a suboptimal treatment effect. Fear of severe uncontrollable opportunistic infections seems unjustified.
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