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Fludarabine in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a review

Authors Francesca Ricci, Alessandra Tedeschi, Enrica Morra, Marco Montillo

Published 4 March 2009 Volume 2009:5 Pages 187—207


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 6

Francesca Ricci, Alessandra Tedeschi, Enrica Morra, Marco Montillo

Department of Oncology/Haematology, Niguarda Ca’Granda Hospital, Milan, Italy

Abstract: Fludarabine (FAMP) is the most effective and most extensively studied purine analog in indolent B-cell malignancies. Its use is indicated for first- and second-line treatment of B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (B-CLL). FAMP as a single agent has produced superior response rates and progression-free survival than standard therapy with chlorambucil and alkylator-based regimen. Efficacy of FAMP may be increased by combining this purine analog with other chemotherapeutic and non-chemotherapeutic agents. FAMP and cyclophosphamide combination (FC) has shown promising results with higher overall response and complete response rates than FAMP in monotherapy, although no difference has been detected in survival. Quality of response and eradication of minimal residual disease (MRD) have been reported to be associated with prolonged survival. Eradication of MRD has been achieved by combining FC with mitoxantrone or monoclonal antibody including alemtuzumab or rituximab or both. FAMP has been widely used in non-myeloablative conditioning regimens, often combined with a variety of other cytotoxic agents, with the aim of inducing enough immunosuppression to allow successful engraftment and to exert some pretransplant anti-tumor activity. The current paper provides an overview of use of FAMP as a single agent or as a cornerstone of different therapeutic strategies for treatment of B-CLL patients.

Keywords: fludarabine, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, cyclophosphamide

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