Reports from two early-stage trials of new oral drugs provide hope for patients with high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that has returned after prior treatment. Results from both trials were presented last month at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) and published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).
Some patients with CLL, the most common type of leukemia in the United States, do well even without treatment, whereas others need chemotherapy to manage their disease. Chemotherapy can keep the disease in check for years without symptoms or need for further treatment, but virtually all patients relapse. Ultimately, for most patients, there is no curative therapy.