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Haematologica. 2013 Jan;98(1):65-70. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2012.070755. Epub 2012 Oct 12.

Impact of dose intensity on outcome of fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab regimen given in the first-line therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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  • 1Department of Hematology, Purpan University Hospital, Toulouse, France.


Fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab is the most efficient first-line treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients. Many dose adjustments of the original MD Anderson Cancer Center regimen have been proposed. However, whether fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab relative dose intensity may have an impact on outcome has not yet been investigated. We retrospectively assessed relative dose intensity in 106 community-based patients included in our regional healthcare network from 2004-11, all receiving fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab as first-line treatment outside clinical trials. Dose reductions were observed in 51.4% of patients, mainly decided by the individual physician and not based on recommendations (52.7%), while there were fewer reports of toxicity or dose reduction because of impaired renal function. Progression-free survival was significantly reduced in patients who had a reduction in dose intensity of more than 20% in fludarabine-cyclophosphamide and/or rituximab. Multivariate analysis showed dose of rituximab had a significant impact on minimal residual disease and progression-free survival. Although prophylactic granulocyte-colony stimulating factor significantly reduced the rate of grade 3-4 neutropenia and febrile neutropenia, it had no impact on relative dose intensity and outcome. This study shows that, in routine clinical practice, there is low adherence to the original MD Anderson Cancer Center fludarabine-cyclophosphamide-rituximab schedule, and that the decision to modify dosage was mostly taken by the individual physician and was based on anticipated toxicity. This study shows that reduction of fludarabine-cyclophosphamide and, more importantly, of rituximab doses seriously interferes with progression-free survival.

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