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Drugs. 2003;63(12):1229-43; discussion 1245-6.


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  • 1Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand.


Alemtuzumab is an unconjugated, humanised, monoclonal antibody directed against the cell surface antigen CD52 on lymphocytes and monocytes. In noncomparative phase I/II studies in patients with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (B-CLL) relapsed after or refractory to alkylating agents and fludarabine, intravenous (IV) administration of alemtuzumab 30 mg/day three times weekly for up to 12 weeks was associated with overall objective response (OR) rates of 21-59%. Combining alemtuzumab with fludarabine resulted in ORs >80%. In noncomparative studies in patients with previously untreated B-CLL, subcutaneous (SC) administration of alemtuzumab alone, or IV in combination with fludarabine, was highly effective, achieving OR rates of around 90%. IV alemtuzumab was active in patients with chemotherapy-resistant/relapsed T-cell prolymphocytic leukaemia, with reported OR rates of 24-76%. Alemtuzumab has been incorporated in novel conditioning regimens designed to facilitate stem cell transplantation in haematological malignancies. Adverse events with alemtuzumab are predictable and manageable. 'First-dose' flulike symptoms, frequently seen after IV infusion, can be managed by (pre)medication and minimised by dose escalation (or SC injection). Anti-infective prophylaxis is mandatory. Cytopenias are transient, although red blood cell and platelet support may be required.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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