Alemtuzumab superior to chlorambucil for front-line CLL therapy

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Single-agent alemtuzumab [Campath, MabCampath] is superior to chlorambucil in the first-line treatment of patients with progressive B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), according to final data from a phase III study* presented at the 48th Annual Meeting and Exposition of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) [Orlando, Florida, US; December 2006]. Compared with chlorambucil, which is widely regarded as the standard front-line therapy for CLL, alemtuzumab provided a significantly prolonged progression-free survival, with a 42% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death with alemtuzumab. The overall response rate was nearly 30% greater with alemtuzumab than chlorambucil, and a significant 12-fold increase in the rate of complete response was observed in the alemtuzumab arm. Although not currently indicated as a first-line therapy for CLL, based on the results of this study, CLL patients may soon have a more effective treatment option for the earlier stages of their disease.

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