Second malignancies as a consequence of nucleoside analog therapy for chronic lymphoid leukemias.
PURPOSE: The nucleoside analogs fludarabine, 2'-deoxycoformycin (DCF), and 2-chlorodeoxyadenosine (CdA), commonly used in the treatment of patients with indolent lymphoid malignancies such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and hairy cell leukemia (HCL), are associated with myelosuppression and profound and prolonged immunosuppression. These complications raise the possibility of an increase in secondary malignancies in patients whose disease already places them at greater risk. The purpose of the present study was to assess the frequency of second tumors in patients with CLL who are treated with fludarabine and in patients with HCL who are treated with DCF and CdA.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We reviewed the long-term follow-up data for 2,014 patients treated on National Cancer Institute Group C protocols with fludarabine for relapsed and refractory CLL and with DCF and CdA for HCL using a Second Cancer Report. The numbers of observed and expected secondary tumors were compared.
RESULTS: Median follow-up periods for the DCF (n = 409), fludarabine (n = 724), and CdA (n = 979) studies were 6.9, 7.4, and 5.1 years, respectively. The 111 malignancies were most commonly lymphoma (25 patients), prostate (19), lung (15), colorectal (nine), bladder (six), and breast (six), but also CNS, stomach, ovary, head and neck, melanoma, sarcoma, testicular, and myeloid leukemias. Compared with age-adjusted 1994 Surveillance and Epidemiology End-Results rates for the general population, the observed/expected frequencies for DCF, fludarabine, and CdA were 1.43 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.93 to 2.10), 1.65 (95% CI, 1.04 to 2.47), and 1.50 (95% CI, 1.14 to 1.93), respectively, indicating a significant (at P =.05) increase in risk for patients treated on the latter two protocols compared with a normal population. However, these values are consistent with the increase already associated with these diseases.
CONCLUSION: Despite their immunosuppression, nucleoside analogs can be safely administered to patients with CLL or HCL without a significantly increased risk of secondary malignancies.