Poly-[1-6]-β-glucopyranosyl-[1-3]-β-glucopyranose (PGG) beta glucan is a Saccharomyces cerevisiae derived 1,3/1,6 glucose polymer with innate immune system activation potential. This phase I/II clinical trial enrolled 20 eligible patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia with high-risk biological markers for early initial treatment with alemtuzumab, rituximab and PGG beta glucan (1-2-4 mg/kg/dose) over 31 days. PGG beta glucan at 4 mg/kg was well tolerated and used for the phase II study. There were three grade 3-4 toxicities at least possibly attributed to treatment. Nineteen (95%) patients responded to treatment with 13 (65%) complete responses. All patients were alive at a median follow-up of 24.4 months (range: 9.5-37). Eleven patients had progressive disease (median 17.6 months, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 9.7, 32.1) and eight patients were retreated (median 35.3 months, 95% CI: 17.9, not reached). We conclude that PGG beta glucan, alemtuzumab and rituximab treatment is tolerable and results in a high complete response rate.
Keywords: CLL; Chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma; PGG beta glucan; alemtuzumab; high risk; rituximab.