New developments in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia: role of obinutuzumab
Department of Pharmacy, Georgia Regents University Medical Center, Augusta, GA, USA
Abstract: Obinutuzumab is a novel glycoengineered type II anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody with a higher affinity for CD20 epitope, enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity and direct cell death, leading to superior cytotoxicity compared with rituximab. The approval of obinutuzumab by US Food and Drug Administration was based on a pivotal, phase III, randomized trial of chlorambucil monotherapy (n=118), chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab (n=333), or chlorambucil plus rituximab (n=330) in previously untreated patients with CLL. Obinutuzumab was administered intravenously as 1,000 mg on days 1, 8, and 15 of cycle 1 and day 1 of subsequent cycles. Obinutuzumab plus chlorambucil was associated with an overall response rate of 78% and a median progression-free survival of 26.7 months. Overall, obinutuzumab was fairly well tolerated in this pivotal study. The incidence of grade 3 or higher adverse events was infusion-related reactions (20%), neutropenia (33%), thrombocytopenia (10%), and infections (7%). Obinutuzumab in combination with chlorambucil is a safe and effective new treatment option for previously untreated elderly patients with CLL. It should become the new standard of care for these patients with significant co-morbidities who are not candidates for fludarabine-based therapy. Obinutuzumab combination therapy with several agents that inhibit kinases involved in the B-cell receptor signaling pathway, as well as many other agents utilized in the frontline and relapsed/refractory setting, is currently under investigation. As the results from these studies become available, the role of obinutuzumab is expected to expand to other settings.
Keywords: obinutuzumab, untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia, GA101, chlorambucil
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