This is an interesting overview from Italy
The survival of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has significantly improved in the last 30 years. The introduction of purine analogs in the treatment armamentarium followed by the combination of these compounds with alkylating agents first improved response rates and progression-free survival (PFS) when compared with alkylating agent-based therapy only.
However, the great advance arrived with the development of a chemoimmunotherapeutic approach comparing this with chemotherapy alone demonstrating an improvement not only in terms of response rate and PFS but also, for the first time, in the rate of overall survival (OS). The last decade brought significant achievements in the understanding of CLL pathogenesis leading to the development of new agents targeting cell surface, intracellular pathways, and tumor microenvironment. As traditional chemotherapy is asso- ciated with acute and long-term toxicity, interest in these non-chemotherapeutic treatments has been constantly growing.
The challenge will be to develop a rationale for non-chemotherapeutic approaches using these new agents as monotherapy, or in combination, with the aim of obtaining an individualized strategy based on disease characteristics and even patient basis. Hopefully, an increasing participation of ultra high-risk CLL patients in clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of these new treatments may lead to reasonable success, if not cure, in this unfavorable setting.