• More than half of patients with low to intermediate risk CLL-IPI and CLL-WONT may safely end specialized follow-up

  • Survival was similar and time to infection was longer in patients ending specialized follow-up compared to those who continued

Approximately half of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) will never require treatment, still they are recommended life-long specialized follow-up (sFU). To prioritize health care resources, local hospital management implemented ending sFU in asymptomatic patients with CLL international prognostic index (CLL-IPI) and CLL without need of treatment (CLL-WONT) low to intermediate risk, who were covered by universal health care. To evaluate the feasibility and safety of ending sFU, we investigated 3-year clinical outcomes among 112 patients selected by clinical assessment to end sFU as compared with 88 patients continuing sFU. Patients who ended sFU were older but otherwise lower risk compared with patients continuing sFU. Overall survival (OS) was similar in patients ending and continuing sFU (3-year OS 87% and 80%, respectively; P=0.16). Hospital visits per patient-year were lower (median 0.7 vs 4.3, P<0.0001) and time to first infection was longer (P=0.035) in patients ending sFU as compared with those who continued sFU: this included fewer COVID infections (8 [7%] vs 17 [18%]; P=0.029) and shorter in-hospital antimicrobial treatment (median 4 vs 12 days, respectively; P=0.026). Finally, one in six patients got re-referred including 4 patients meeting iwCLL criteria for need of treatment. This also resulted in a lower 3-year first treatment rate for patients ending sFU compared with patients continuing sFU (4% vs 23%, respectively; P<0.0001). In conclusion, it is feasible and safe to end sFU for patients with CLL who have low to intermediate risk CLL-IPI and CLL-WONT scores upon thorough clinical evaluation prior to ending specialized follow-up.

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