Drug outperforms chemo for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia
The biopharmaceutical drug blinatumomab is more effective for the treatment of relapsed or treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) than standard chemotherapy, a Phase III clinical trial involving 101 centers in 21 countries showed.
The study, led by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, revealed that median survival was 7.7 months for patients receiving blinatumomab, with median survival of 7.7 months, versus four months for those on chemotherapy. Complete remission rates 12 weeks after treatment commenced were 34% in the blinatumomab group, versus 16% for those on chemotherapy. The study also showed that patients treated with blinatumomab had a lower rate of adverse side effects.
While the prognosis for newly diagnosed ALL has improved over the last three decades with intensive chemotherapy regimens resulting in complete remission rates of 85 to 90% and long-term survival rates of 30 to 50%, most adult patients with the B-cell precursor ALL, the most common form, ultimately relapse and die from disease complications.
“Among adults with relapsed ALL, remission rates are 18 to 44% with standard chemotherapy, but the duration of remission is typically short. A major goal for these patients is to induce remission with sufficient duration to prepare for stem-cell transplantation,” said Hagop Kantarjian, M.D., chair of Leukemia and lead author of the study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine. “In this study, 24% of patients in each treatment group underwent allogeneic stem cell transplantation.”
Read more about this study in MD Anderson’s newsroom.