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Clinics (Sao Paulo). 2012 Jul;67(7):745-8.

T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia: treatment experience with fludarabine.

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Instituto do Câncer do Estado de São Paulo da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo Hematology Department, São Paulo/SP, Brazil.



The aim of this retrospective study was to investigate the results of T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia treatment with fludarabine by assessing the complete hematologic response, the complete molecular response, progression-free survival, and overall survival.


We evaluated the records of six patients with T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia who were treated with fludarabine as a first-, second-, or third-line therapy, at a dose of 40 mg/m², for three to five days per month and 6 to 8 cycles.


Of the six patients investigated with T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia who were treated with fludarabine, five (83.3%) were female, and their median age was 36.5 years (range 18 to 73). The median lymphocyte level was 3.4 x 10(9)/L (0.5 to 8.9). All patients exhibited a monoclonal T-cell receptor gamma gene rearrangement at diagnosis. Two (33.3%) patients received fludarabine as first-line treatment, two (33.3%) for refractory disease, one (16.6%) for relapsed disease after the suspension of methotrexate treatment due to liver toxicity, and one (16.6%) due to dyspepsia. A complete hematologic response was achieved in all cases, and a complete molecular response was achieved in five out six cases (83.3%). During a mean follow-up period of 12 months, both the progression-free survival and overall survival rates were 100%.


T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia demonstrated a high rate of complete hematologic and molecular response to fludarabine, with excellent compliance and tolerability rates. To confirm our results in this rare disease, we believe that fludarabine should be tested in clinical trials as a first-line treatment for T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia.

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