Fludarabine therapy in Waldenström's macroglobulinemia

Thalhammer-Scherrer, R.; Geissler, K.; Schwarzinger, I.; Chott, A.; Gisslinger, H.; Knöbl, P.; Lechner, K.; Jäger, U.
October 2000
Annals of Hematology;Oct2000, Vol. 79 Issue 10, p556
Academic Journal
Seven patients with macroglobulinemia (six previously untreated, one with minimal pretreatment) were treated with fludarabine (25 mg/m2/day for 5 days, repeated every 4 weeks). The median age was 58 years. The time from diagnosis to treatment with fludarabine was 4.5 months to 175 months (median 32.6 months). The patients received six (n=5), five (n=1), and three (n=1) courses of fludarabine. One patient showed only a slight decrease of immunoglobulin (Ig) M (from 5750 mg/dl to 4700 mg/dl) and no improvement of anemia. Therefore, treatment was stopped after three cycles. In the other six patients, a marked reduction of IgM levels (from 6140 mg/dl to 1220 mg/dl median), a normalization of hemoglobin (from 10.8 g/dl to 12.3 g/dl median), a reduction of lymphocyte count (from 1992/μl to 652/μl median), and a reduction of β2 microglobulin (from 2.3 mg/l to 1.8 mg/l median) were achieved. A 50% IgM reduction was achieved 5.4 months (median) after the beginning of therapy, and the maximum response was observed 17.3 months (median) after the end of treatment. The responses were sustained without further therapy in six patients for 20.8–55.2 months. In one patient, disease progression was observed 12.5 months after the end of therapy. Fludarabine therapy was well tolerated with few side effects. In three patients, febrile episodes occurred. No opportunistic infections were recorded. We conclude that fludarabine is an effective treatment in previously untreated or in minimally pretreated patients with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia.


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