The Role of Prognostic Factors in Treating CLL

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Topics include: Treatments and Understanding

Prognostic factors can help predict how an individual patient's chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) may behave and respond to treatment. And more recently, these factors have been used to help direct treatment choices.   Dr. William Wierda, a CLL expert from MD Anderson Cancer Center explains the role of prognostic factors today and explores research in development that may lead to a more personalized approach to CLL treatment.

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Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Hello and welcome, I'm Andrew Schorr. Any of us with CLL want to know what lies ahead for us and what is a clear treatment path for us now and in the future. Well prognostic factors can help with that. And one CLL specialist that has a special interest in prognostic factors is Dr. William Wierda from MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I sat down with him to talk about the role of prognostic factors today.

Dr. Wierda:

The prognostic factors for me really characterize an individual's disease.  They help us to understand potentially how active the disease is for an individual patient, and more recently we've found them also useful in directing treatment.  For example, patients--we know patients who have an 11q deletion do well with treatment with alkylating-agent based therapy.

We've also learned recently in our long-term follow-up at MD Anderson that patients who have received FCR who have a mutated V gene, two-thirds of those patients who achieve a complete remission have a well-maintained, complete remission that lasts more then nine years.  So I think what we'll be seeing and what we're working on right now at Anderson is developing clinical trials that are more personalized and directed towards individual patient's features.

An example would be patients who have a mutated V gene, those patients when they need treatment who we know do exceptionally well with chemoimmunotherapy, FCR particularly, how can we improve the response that they get by giving less chemotherapy.  So we're working on a clinical trial now to look at MRD-negative status after three cycles, and how can we boost the proportion of patients who are MRD negative after three cycles who have a mutated V gene and in that way minimize their exposure to chemotherapy, minimize their risk for second cancers, etc. and achieve what we need to achieve for those patients—which is MRD-negative complete remission, which may be curative for that subgroup of patients.

Andrew Schorr:

I want to thank Dr. Wierda for being with us on Patient Power once again and for his continuing devotion to patients. I'm Andrew Schorr. Remember, knowledge can be the best medicine of all.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on May 22, 2014