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Haematologica. 2012 Mar;97(3):423-7. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2011.047324. Epub 2012 Jan 22.

Flavopiridol treatment of patients aged 70 or older with refractory or relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a feasible and active therapeutic approach.

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  • 1Division of Hematology, Department of Internal Medicine and Comprehensive Cancer Center, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


Older chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients have poor outcomes with standard treatments and are underrepresented in clinical trials. We retrospectively reviewed outcomes of refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients in two age categories (≥70 and <70 years) treated with single-agent flavopiridol, a drug active in genomically high-risk patients, during two trials. No significant difference between older and younger patients was observed in response rates (43 vs. 47%) or progression-free survival (median 8.7 vs. 9.9 months, P>0.80). Although overall survival was worse in older patients (median 2.1 vs. 2.4 years, P=0.02); when adjusted for other factors this difference was no longer significant (P≥0.10). With the exception of infections (older 29% vs. younger 62%) no significant association with toxicity was observed. These data demonstrate that flavopiridol administration to older chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients is feasible, tolerable, and may have similar efficacy to that in younger patients. Development of treatment approaches including flavopiridol should be considered for these older patients.

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