Alemtuzumab in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic lymphoma

Expert Rev Anticancer Ther. 2008 Apr;8(4):525-33. doi: 10.1586/14737140.8.4.525.


Alemtuzumab was the first monoclonal antibody to be humanized, a process which embeds rodent sequence fragments in a human IgG framework. The antibody target is CD52, an antigen expressed on normal lymphocytes as well as many T- and B-cell neoplasms. It therefore has a potential broad application across a spectrum of B- and T-cell malignancies as well as use as an immunosuppressant drug in, for example, bone marrow transplantation. The original licensing in the USA and Europe was for the treatment of fludarabine-refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). However, recent trials using alemtuzumab as a first-line agent for CLL have shown superior response rates compared with traditional alkylator therapy and this has led to US FDA approval for first-line treatment for CLL. It seems to be particularly useful in patients with CLL who have deletion of the TP53 tumor suppressor gene, a subset of disease that responds poorly to other currently available chemotherapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alemtuzumab
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / therapeutic use*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / pharmacology
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm / therapeutic use*
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / immunology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • CD52 Antigen
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / immunology*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / pathology
  • Leukemia, Prolymphocytic, T-Cell / drug therapy
  • Leukemia, Prolymphocytic, T-Cell / immunology
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / drug therapy
  • Lymphoma, T-Cell, Cutaneous / immunology
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Skin Neoplasms / immunology
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Antibodies, Neoplasm
  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • CD52 Antigen
  • CD52 protein, human
  • Glycoproteins
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Alemtuzumab