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ASH 2015: Study to Improve Fatigue in CLL Patients Who Do Not Currently Require Active Treatment

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Many patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) experience significant fatigue and other symptoms that negatively impact their quality of life. Currently available supportive care drugs do not improve these symptoms and recently studies have been performed to explore therapeutic options to treat them. Dr. Zeev Estrov from MD Anderson Cancer Center describes the study that is being done to address CLL fatigue and the preliminary results that were presented at the 2015 American Society of Hematology annual meeting.

Studies have shown that Ruxolitinib (Jakafi) significantly reduces disease-related symptoms in patients with myelofibrosis, a serious bone marrow disorder that disrupts the body’s normal production of blood cells, by significantly reducing “hormone-like” proteins called cytokines. Based on these results and our own laboratory data, a clinical trial was developed to explore the effects of Ruxolitinib on disease-related symptoms in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who do not require anti-CLL treatment. The preliminary results of the trial show that Ruxolitinib significantly reduces disease-related fatigue and other symptoms in patients with CLL. The preliminary results of the study also suggest that Ruxolitinib may reduce the number of CLL cells in the blood. Thirty-one patients were enrolled on the clinical trial; 19 had never received treatment for CLL while the other 15 had received at least one prior treatment. The average reduction in fatigue was 74% and a 45% reduction in other symptoms associated with CLL after 3 months of treatment.

You can read the abstract here.

You can read about the clinical trial being performed at MD Anderson here.

Zeev Estrov, MD

Professor of Medicine
Department of Leukemia
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Houston, TX