Early progression of disease as a predictor of survival in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Blood Adv. 2017 Nov 28;1(25):2433-2443. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2017011262.


Chemoimmunotherapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) promotes clonal evolution of aggressive clones, which in some patients may lead to early progression of disease (POD). We studied the prognostic value of early POD in a cohort of patients with CLL enrolled between 2010 and 2014 in the Connect CLL Registry. Overall, 829 eligible patients receiving first-line therapy were categorized into 3 groups: early POD (progression <2 years after treatment initiation), late POD (progression ≥2 years after treatment initiation), and no POD as of 1 May 2017. Baseline demographics, treatment characteristics, and overall survival (OS) were analyzed. Logistic regression models identified independent predictors of early POD; Cox regression models were used to evaluate the risk of early POD. With a median follow-up of 48.8 months, 209 (25.2%), 162 (19.5%), and 458 (55.3%) patients had early, late, and no POD, respectively. Patients with early POD were older and had inferior response to similar first-line treatment regimens vs late and no POD groups (overall response rate: 53% vs 80% vs 84%). Patients with early POD were more likely to have unfavorable-risk cytogenetics (del[11q]/del[17p]) than patients with no POD (34% vs 20%; P = .04). Early POD was associated with an inferior OS across all patients (hazard ratio, 3.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.6-5.1; P < .01) and in patients treated with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide plus rituximab, and bendamustine plus rituximab (P < .05). Early POD within 2 years of first-line therapy is a robust clinical prognostic factor for inferior OS in patients with CLL. The Connect CLL Registry was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01081015.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01081015