Real world risk of infusion reactions and effectiveness of front-line obinutuzumab plus chlorambucil compared with other frontline treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

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Bourrier, Nicole
Landego, Ivan
Bucher, Oliver
Squires, Mandy
Streu, Erin
Hibbert, Irena
Whiteside, Theresa
Gibson, Spencer B.
Geirnaert, Marc
Johnston, James B.
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Abstract Background Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common type of leukemia in North America. Previous studies have shown improved progression free survival (PFS) and response rates in unfit patients treated with obinutuzumab compared to other regimens. The aim of this study was to evaluate the obinutuzumab-chlorambucil regimen in the context of historical treatments and first-dose infusion reactions at CancerCare Manitoba (CCMB). Methods A retrospective chart review was conducted for patients treated with obinutuzumab from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2017 at CCMB. A minimum data set was extracted for patients treated with other front-line therapies. Descriptive statistics were used to evaluate patient demographics, toxicity, duration and dosing of obinutuzumab treatment. Kaplan–Meier curves were used to evaluate time-to-next-treatment (TTNT), overall survival (OS) and PFS for patients treated with obinutuzumab. A multivariable logistic regression model was used to investigate associations between infusion related reactions (IRRs) and age at treatment, pre-treatment lymphocyte count, cumulative illness rating scale (CIRS) and receipt of prior chemotherapy. Results Forty seven percent of patients receiving frontline therapy received chlorambucil and obinutuzumab. Sixty-seven patients were treated with obinutuzumab and consisted of 36 males (53.7%) and 31 females (46.3%) with 29 patients (43.3%) over age 75 years. Rates of grade 3 and 4 obinutuzumab IRRs were lower (6%) compared to the CLL11 clinical trial (20%) due to local practices including slower infusion rates and using chlorambucil before starting obinutuzumab treatment. Many patients had difficulty tolerating the full dosage of chlorambucil. Only 26 patients (38.8%) had their dose of chlorambucil escalated to the full dose of 0.5 mg/kg. In addition, only 18 patients (26.9%) received all doses of obinutuzumab and all 12 doses of chlorambucil. Conclusions In summary, first dose infusion reactions with obinutuzumab can be markedly reduced by using chlorambucil to decrease the lymphocyte count before obinutuzumab and by using a very slow initial obinutuzumab infusion rate. Modifications in chlorambucil dosing and obinutuzumab administration can improve tolerance without significant loss in efficacy.
BMC Cancer. 2022 Feb 06;22(1):148