Recombinant alpha-2b-interferon in therapy of previously untreated hairy cell leukemia: Long-term follow-up results of study by Cancer and Leukemia Group B
Leukemia, Hairy Cell
In 1985, Cancer and Leukemia Group B initiated a multi-institutional study to define the role of interferon alpha in therapy of previously untreated active hairy cell leukemia (HCL). This is a long-term follow-up report of the study. Fifty-five evaluable patients were treated with recombinant interferon-2b 2 million units/m2 subcutaneously three times a week for 1 year. Treatment was well tolerated; toxicity mainly consisted of flu-like syndrome and pancytopenia, both of a transient nature. Seventy-three percent of patients had objective beneficial responses with 8.3 months median time to achieve at least a partial response (PR). After 1 year of therapy, the patients have been observed for a median of 5 years. There was a continual trend towards relapse throughout this period but 28% have remained in remission beyond 6 years. Forty-six patients (83%) are alive at 6 years. Among the 40 patients who achieved at least a PR, there were 28 with splenomegaly at the beginning of study: the spleen size was reduced in all with interferon alpha therapy and none required splenectomy. This study confirms the results of other investigators, and demonstrates that recombinant alpha interferon-2b is an effective agent for treatment of hairy cell leukemia.