Background: New targeted therapies continue to show improved efficacy in various stages of chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), sparing patients from chemoimmunotherapy. However, cure remains elusive. Here, we present a front-line alternative based on a combination of high-dose methylprednisolone (HDMP) and ofatumumab, followed by consolidative therapy with lenalidomide plus ofatumumab.

Methods: This is a phase II, single-center study in patients with treatment-naive (TN) CLL/SLL. During the first treatment phase (cycles 1-3) patients received HDMP 1000 mg/m2 IV and ofatumumab 2000 mg (300 mg given week 1 then 2000 mg for a total of 12 doses) IV infusions weekly x 4 doses in cycle 1 of a 28 day cycle, then every 2 weeks for cycles 2 and 3. During the second treatment phase (cycles 4-12), patients received renally adjusted lenalidomide 5-10 mg daily and ofatumumab 2000mg IV once every 8 weeks. Growth factor support was permitted at the discretion of treating physician. Prophylactic medications included allopurinol for tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) 3 days before C1D1 through C1; and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole and fluconazole through cycle 4, and acyclovir through C12. Patients received aspirin 81 mg/day as thrombosis prophylaxis while on lenalidomide. Patients were assessed for response by iwCLL 2008 criteria (including imaging assessment) after completion of cycles 3 and 12. The study allowed continuation of lenalidomide if patients achieved complete (CR), partial (PR) response or stable disease (SD). Primary endpoints were efficacy, adverse events (AEs) profile, and time-to-treatment failure (TTF).

Results: Between January 2012 and September 2015, the study enrolled a total of 45 patients. Median follow-up was 50.4 (5.6-72.8) months. The median age was 62.6 (48.2-86.1) years. Chromosomal analysis by FISH demonstrated Del17p in 8 (17.8%), Del11q (+/- others, except Del17p) in 10 (22.2%), Trisomy 12 (+/- others, except Del17p and Del11q) in 8 (17.8%), Del13q in 10 (22.2%), no mutations in 9 (20%) patients. The IGHV status was unmutated in 34 (75.6%) cases. Indications to start treatment were: symptomatic lymphadenopathy, symptomatic splenomegaly, anemia, and thrombocytopenia in 5 (11.1%), 10 (22.2%), 12 (26.7%), and 18 (40%), respectively. The median duration of treatment was 35.6 (2.7-66.9) months. Reasons for treatment discontinuation were: progressive disease (PD) in 9 (20%), AEs in 15 (33.3%), transplantation in 3 (6.7%), consent withdrawal in 1 (2.2%), and secondary malignancies in 2 (4.4%) cases. The overall response rates (PR+CR) at 3, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months were 75.6%, 77.8%, 66.7%, 44.4%, and 37.8%, respectively. The CR rates at 3, 12, 24, 36, and 48 months were 2.2%, 11.1%, 20%, 17.8%, and 13.3% respectively. Fifteen patients remain in PR/CR and on treatment at the time of this analysis. The intention-to-treat median TTF was 45.2 (2.9-69.7) months, and was not different among high risk groups such as Del17p, Del11q and/or unmutated IgHV. In patients who discontinued for reasons other than PD the median duration of response without treatment was 30.7 (9.8-69.7) months. Three (6.7%) patients underwent allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation after a median of 3 (3 - 4) treatment cycles.

Treatment was well tolerated with grade 3/4 infusion reaction in 1 (2.2%) patient. Grade 3/4 treatment-related hematological AEs were neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and anemia in 33 (73.3%), 5 (11.1%), and 1 (2.2%), respectively. Grade 3/4 infections occurred in 6 (13.3%) patients. No grade 3/4 tumor flares were observed, and there were no cases of TLS or thrombosis.

Conclusion: The combination of ofatumumab, HDMP and lenalidomide is effective and well tolerated in treatment-naive CLL/SLL, even when poor prognostic features are present.


Komrokji:Novartis: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Novartis: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding; Novartis: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding; Novartis: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau. Locke:Novartis Pharmaceuticals: Other: Scientific Advisor; Cellular BioMedicine Group Inc.: Consultancy; Kite Pharma: Other: Scientific Advisor. Kharfan-Dabaja:Seattle Genetics: Speakers Bureau; Incyte Corp: Speakers Bureau; Alexion Pharmaceuticals: Speakers Bureau. Sokol:Spectrum Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy; Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.