Among older people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and other health problems, initial treatment with Gazyva® (obinutuzumab) and chlorambucil was more effective than treatment with Rituxan® (rituximab) and chlorambucil. These results were presented at the 2013 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.
CLL is a slow-growing blood and bone marrow disease. It is the second most common type of leukemia in adults. In 2013, there were roughly 15,680 new diagnoses of chronic lymphocytic leukemia In the United States.
Gazyva—approved in November, 2013—works by helping certain cells in the immune system attack cancer cells. Gazyva is intended to be used with chlorambucil, another drug used to treat patients with CLL.
To compare Gazyva/chlorambucil with another combination treatment: Rituxan/chlorambucil, researchers conducted a Phase III clinical trial. The study enrolled 781 older patients who had other health problems in addition to CLL.
- Median survival without cancer progression was 27 months among patients treated with Gazyva/chlorambucil, and 15 months among patients treated with Rituxan/chlorambucil.
- It’s too early to draw firm conclusions about overall survival, but thus far it’s better in the Gazyva/chlorambucil group.
- Side effects of Gazyva/chlorambucil include infusion-related reactions and neutropenia (low white blood cell counts).
In summary, for the initial treatment of older patients with CLL and other health problems, Gazyva/chlorambucil appears to be more effective than Rituxan/chlorambucil.
Reference: Goede V, Fischer K, Busche R et al. Head-To-Head Comparison Of Obinutuzumab (GA101) Plus Chlorambucil (Clb) Versus Rituximab Plus Clb In Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and Co-Existing Medical Conditions (Comorbidities): Final Stage 2 Results Of The CLL11 Trial. Presented at the 55th ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition. New Orleans, LA. December 7-10, 2013. Abstract 6.
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