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The Role of Anti-CD20 Antibodies in the Treatment of CLL: From German Cancer Registry

By: Joshua D. Madera, MS
Posted: Wednesday, February 2, 2022

After the approval and implementation of anti-CD20 antibodies for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), patients experienced a significant increase in overall survival, according to a study based on data from a German cancer registry and published in the Blood Cancer Journal. However, the impact of supportive medication or improved anti-infective therapies cannot be fully discredited regarding their impact on patient survival, suggested Andreas Stang, MD, MPH, of the University Hospital Essen, Germany, and colleagues.

From 1993 to 2016, a total of 3,175 patients with CLL were recruited from The Cancer Registry of North Rhine–Westphalia. All patients were between the ages of 15 and 79 at the time of diagnosis. The 5-year relative survival was assessed across four different time periods.

There was a 79% and 75% increase in 5-year relative survival for men from 1998 to 2002 and 2003 to 2007, respectively. Subsequently, the 5-year relative survival for men increased to 81% and 88% from 2008 to 2012 and 2013 to 2016, respectively. For women with CLL, the 5-year relative survival continuously increased from 71% in the 1998 to 2002 time period to 92% in the 2013 to 2016 time period. When the authors stratified the findings by both age and sex, the 5-year relative survival increased from 83% to 90% for men aged 15 to 69 and from 82% to 94% for women after the addition of an anti-CD20 antibody to their chemotherapy regimen. In men aged 70 to 79, the 5-year relative survival increased from 72.1% in the 1998 to 2002 time period to 85.3% in the 2013 to 2016 time period. A similar trend was seen in women aged 70 to 79, with an increase from 63.8% to 89.1%, respectively.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

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