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Semin Oncol. 2016 Apr;43(2):280-90. doi: 10.1053/j.seminoncol.2016.02.010. Epub 2016 Feb 8.

Antibody therapy alone and in combination with targeted drugs in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

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Department of Hematology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland. Electronic address:
Department of Hematology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.
Department of Experimental Hematology, Medical University of Lodz, Lodz, Poland.


The development of non-chemotherapeutic agents, including monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and other targeted drugs, makes chemotherapy-free treatment an attractive option for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The classical mAb, rituximab, has been authorized for use in both first-line and second-line therapy for CLL. New mAbs directed against CD20, ofatumumab, and obinutuzumab (GA-101) have also been approved for the treatment of this disease. Recently, several new mAbs with potential benefits over the approved anti-CD20 antibodies have been developed for use in CLL. Anti-CD37, anti-CD19, and anti-CD40 mAbs are in early clinical trials and show promise in treating CLL. In addition, the combination of mAbs with B-cell receptor signaling pathway inhibitors and immunomodulatory drugs makes the chemotherapy-free option a reality today. Combinations of antibodies with targeted drugs like ibrutinib, idelalisib, or lenalidomide are expected to replace chemotherapy-based combinations for treating CLL in the near future. However, phase III trials should confirm the benefit of these new treatment strategies and establish their exact place in the therapeutic armamentarium for CLL.


Alemtuzumab; Ibrutinib; Idelalisib; Obinutuzumab; Ofatumumab; Rituximab

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