The CD52-targeting antibody alemtuzumab is established in clinical practice with convincing activity in relapsed and refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), particularly in patients with high-risk features and adverse prognosis. In the CAM307 study alemtuzumab was tested and finally approved as a first-line single agent, even though the hurdle with chlorambucil as the contender was not set very high. Within clinical trials, the drug demonstrated an excellent ability to eliminate minimal residual disease in blood and bone marrow, which has been correlated with a corresponding survival advantage in patients. However, in the maintenance setting, infectious complications due to severe T cell suppression have been highlighted and do not allow clinicans to use alemtuzumab outside of clinical trials. This review discusses potential therapeutic niches and future applications of alemtuzumab with a focus on CLL front-line treatment.
Keywords: CLL; Campath; alemtuzumab; first-line treatment; front-line.