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Adv Ther. 2011 Jul;28(7):534-54. doi: 10.1007/s12325-011-0032-2. Epub 2011 Jul 2.

Rituximab in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Diversion of Hematology/Oncology, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, 3855 Health Sciences Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0820, USA.


Rituximab (Rituxan; iogen Idec, San Diego, CA, USA) is a human-mouse chimeric monoclonal antibody specific for CD20, a surface glycoprotein expressed on B lymphocytes. Administration of rituximab as a single agent to patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has limited clinical activity, but generally does not eradicate leukemia from the marrow. However, when administered in combination with chemotherapy, rituximab can improve the survival of patients relative to those treated with chemotherapy alone. As a result of this, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of rituximab in previously untreated and previously treated CD20-positive CLL in combination with fludarabine monophosphate and cyclophosphamide. The results of clinical studies evaluating the activity of rituximab when used alone or in combination with other antileukemia agents for the treatment of this disease are reviewed here.

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