Background & method: The role of multidrug resistance (MDR) was investigated in patients with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). PSC-833 was added to modified VAD (a 4-day infusion of vincristine, doxorubicin, with oral dexamethasone, every 3 weeks), in an attempt to improve the response rate (21%) in a prior study. Laboratory tests to determine MDR and apoptosis proteins were correlated with response.
Results: Two of the seven MDR-positive cases and one of the four MDR-negative patients achieved a partial response (no significant difference). No significant correlation with response was found in any of the laboratory tests for apoptosis.
Conclusion: VAD plus PSC-833 had the same (21%) partial response rate as a prior ECOG study without PSC-833. No correlation of response with MDR or apoptosis testing was found. Other drug resistance factors must play a significant role in determining the response of relapsed patients with CLL.