From the Journals

One-third of high-risk CLL patients received treatment counter to recommendations


pproximately one-third of high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients received chemoimmunotherapy that was not aligned with current CLL treatment recommendations, according to a study based upon data from the informCLL registry. In addition, low levels of prognostic marker testing in these patients was a concern.

Researchers assessed data from 840 enrolled CLL patients, of whom 459 (55%) were previously untreated, and 381 (45%) had relapsed/refractory disease. In terms of therapy, chemoimmunotherapy was more common in previously untreated patients, compared with relapsed/refractory patients (42% vs. 23%), whereas ibrutinib was more frequently used in relapsed/refractory vs. previously untreated patients (51% vs. 39%), according to the researchers.

Fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) testing, TP53 mutation, and immunoglobulin heavy chain somatic hypermutation biomarker testing were performed infrequently across all patients at registry enrollment, according to the authors.

Among patients who were tested, the rate of mutated TP53 was the same for previously untreated (14/54; 26%) and relapsed/refractory patients (9/35; 26%). In those patients who were tested, 34% with del(17p), a chromosomal deletion, and 26% of mutated TP53 patients received chemoimmunotherapy combinations. The authors stated that this was concerning in that it contradicts consensus guidelines based on data from several clinical studies. Chemoimmunotherapy is not recommended for these high-risk patients because of poor disease and survival outcomes with this treatment strategy, according to the authors.

“Current clinical practice is not keeping pace with recommendations and guidelines for prognostic

marker testing and subsequent selection of appropriate therapy,” the authors stated.

“Even with the approval of novel agents and updated guidelines, low rates of prognostic biomarker testing may lead to suboptimal therapy choices for patients with unknown risk status. In addition, we note that the presence of high-risk features (del(17p) and TP53) is unfortunately not translating to choosing the optimal therapy for these patients,” the researchers concluded.

The study was sponsored by an AbbVie Company and Janssen. The authors reported consulting and grants from these and other pharmaceutical companies.

SOURCE: Mato AR et al. Clin Lymphoma Myeloma Leuk. 2020;20(3):174-83.

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