High efficacy with five days schedule of oral fludarabine phosphate and cyclophosphamide in patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia


Bruno Cazin, Service des Maladies du Sang, Hôpital Huriez, rue Michel Polonovski, CHU Lille, 59037 Lille Cedex, France. E-mail: b-cazin@chru-lille.fr


A multicentre single-arm study testing the efficacy and toxicity of the oral combination of fludarabine and cyclophosphamide (FC) over 5 d in 75 patients with untreated B cell-chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Oral FC demonstrated high efficacy with overall (OR) and complete response (CR) rates of 80% and 53%, respectively. Out of the 30 CR patients studied for Minimal Residual Disease (MRD) using 4-colour flow-cytometry and the 22 using Clonospecific polymerase chain reaction, 22 (66%) and 16 (68%), respectively, were MRD negative. Median survival and median treatment-free interval had not been reached at 7 years of follow-up. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 5 years. Toxicity was acceptable, with 52% and 16% of National Cancer Institute grade 3/4 neutropenia and infections, respectively. Gastrointestinal toxicity was mild. Oral FC demonstrated a high efficacy and an acceptable safety profile and may be considered as the standard first line treatment in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.