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Blood. 2013 Dec 19;122(26):4253-8. doi: 10.1182/blood-2013-07-516666. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

CYP2B6*6 is an independent determinant of inferior response to fludarabine plus cyclophosphamide in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Directorate of Blood Sciences, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust, Liverpool, UK;


Fludarabine plus cyclophosphamide (FC) is the chemotherapy backbone of modern chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) treatment. CYP2B6 is a polymorphic cytochrome P450 isoform that converts cyclophosphamide to its active form. This study investigated the possible impact of genetic variation in CYP2B6 on response to FC chemotherapy in CLL. Available DNA samples from the LRF CLL4 trial, which compared chlorambucil, fludarabine, and FC, were screened by TaqMan real-time polymerase chain reaction assays for CYP2B6 SNPs c.516G>T and c.785A>G, which define the most common variant allele (*6). Among the 455 samples successfully genotyped, 265 (58.2%), 134 (29.5%), and 29 (6.4%) were classified as *1/*1, *1/*6, and *6/*6, respectively. Patients expressing at least one *6 allele were significantly less likely to achieve a complete response (CR) after FC (odds ratio 0.27; P = .004) but not chlorambucil or fludarabine. Analysis of individual response indicators confirmed that this inferior response resulted from impaired cytoreduction rather than delayed hemopoietic recovery. Multivariate analysis controlling for age, gender, stage, IGHV mutational status, 11q deletion, and TP53 deletion/mutation identified CYP2B6*6 and TP53 mutation/deletion as the only independent determinants of CR attainment after FC. Our study provides the first demonstration that host pharmacogenetics can influence therapeutic response in CLL. This trial is registered as an International Standard Randomised Control Trial, number NCT 58585610 at

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