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Protocol Details

Randomized Trial of Cladribine (CdA) with Simultaneous or Delayed Rituximab to Eliminate Hairy Cell Leukemia Minimal Residual Disease

This study is NOT currently recruiting participants.

Summary | Eligibility | Citations | Contacts




Sponsoring Institute

National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Recruitment Detail

Type: No longer recruiting/follow-up only
Gender: Male & Female
Min Age: 18 Years
Max Age: N/A

Referral Letter Required


Population Exclusion(s)

Pregnant Women


Hairy Cell Leukemia;
Minimal Residual Disease

Recruitment Keyword(s)

Hairy Cell Leukemia


Hairy Cell Leukemia

Investigational Drug(s)


Investigational Device(s)



Drug: Cladribine
Drug: Rituximab

Supporting Site

National Cancer Institute


Hairy cell leukemia (HCL) is highly responsive to but not curable by cladribine (CdA). HCL responds to rituximab, which is not yet standard therapy for HCL.

Patients with the CD25-negative variant (HCLv) respond poorly to initial cladribine but do respond to rituximab in anecdotal reports.

Deoxycytidine kinase phosphorylates cladribine to CdATP, which incorporates into DNA, leading to DNA strand breaks and inhibition of DNA synthesis. Rituximab is an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody which induces apoptosis and either complement or antibody dependent cytotoxicity (ADCC or CDC).

Patients in complete remission (CR) to cladribine have minimal residual disease (MRD) by immunohistochemistry of the bone marrow biopsy (BMBx IHC), a risk for early relapse. Tests for HCL MRD in blood or marrow include flow cytometry (FACS) or PCR using consensus primers. The most sensitive HCL MRD test is real-time quantitative PCR using sequence-specific primers (RQ-PCR).

In studies with limited follow-up, MRD detected by tests other than RQ-PCR can be eliminated by rituximab after cladribine in greater than 90 percent of patients, but MRD rates after cladribine alone are unknown. Simultaneous cladribine and rituximab might be superior or inferior to delaying rituximab until detection of MRD.

Only 4 HCL-specific trials are listed on a phase II trial of cladribine followed 4 weeks later by 8 weekly doses of rituximab, and phase I-II trials of recombinant immunotoxins targeting CD22 (BL22, HA22) and CD25 (LMB-2).



To determine if HCL MRD differs at 6 months after cladribine with or without rituximab administered concurrently with cladribine.


-To compare cladribine plus rituximab vs cladribine alone in terms of 1) initial MRD-free survival and disease-free survival, and 2) response to delayed rituximab for relapse, to determine if early rituximab compromises later response.

-To determine if MRD levels and tumor markers (soluble CD25 and CD22) after cladribine and/or rituximab correlate with response and clinical endpoints.

-To determine, using MRD and tumor marker data, when BMBx can be avoided.

-To compare response and MRD after the 1st and 2nd courses of cladribine.

-To evaluate the effects of cladribine and rituximab on normal T- and B-cells.

-To enhance the study of HCL biology by cloning, sequencing and characterizing monoclonal immunoglobulin rearrangements.


HCL with 0-1 prior courses of cladribine and treatment indicated.


Cladribine 0.15 mg/Kg/day times 5 doses each by 2hr i.v. infusion (days 1-5)

Rituximab 375 mg/m2/week times 8 weeks, randomized half to begin day 1, then repeat for all patients with blood-MRD relapse at least 6 months after cladribine. Also may repeat for those with blood-MRD relapse at least 6 months after delayed rituximab.

MRD tests used for the primary objective will be limited to BMBx IHC, blood FACS or blood consensus PCR, all CLIA certified. Blood MRD relapse is defined as FACS positivity or low blood counts (ANC less than 1500/microl, Plt less than 100,000/microl, or Hgb less than 11).

Stratification: 68 patients with 0 and 62 with 1 prior course of cladribine.

Statistics: 80% power to discriminate rates of MRD of 5 vs 25%, or 10 vs 35%

Non-randomized arm: 20 with HCLv will begin rituximab with cladribine.

Accrual Ceiling: 152 patients (130 HCL, 2 extra HCL if needed, and 20 HCLv.)

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Evidence of HCL by flow cytometry, reviewed by the Laboratory of Pathology, NCI, including positivity for CD19, CD22, CD20, and CD11c.

BMBx consistent with HCL, reviewed by Laboratory of Pathology, NCI. BMBx may be negative in HCLv in patients with increasing peripheral blood HCLv cells and spleen size.

Treatment indicated based on demonstration of at least one of the following no more than 4 weeks from the time of enrollment, and no less than 6 months after prior purine analog and no less than 4 weeks after other prior treatment, if applicable.

-Neutropenia (ANC less than 1000 cells/microl).

-Anemia (Hgb less than 10g/dL).

-Thrombocytopenia (Plt less than 100,000/microl).

-Absolute lymphocyte count (ALC) of greater than 5,000 cells/microL

-Symptomatic splenomegaly.

-Enlarging lymph nodes greater than 2cm.

-Repeated infections requiring oral or i.v. antibiotics.

-Patients who have eligible blood counts within 4 weeks from enrollment will not be considered ineligible if subsequent blood counts prior to enrollment fluctuate and become ineligible up until the time of enrollment.

No prior purine analog therapy except up to 1 prior course of cladribine.

No prior rituximab unless HCLv patient.

ECOG performance status (78) of 0-3.

Patients must be able to understand and give informed consent.

Women of child-bearing age and all men must use birth control of any type until at least 12 months after the last dose of therapy.

Creatinine less than or equal to 1.5 or creatinine clearance greater than or equal to 60 ml/ml.

Bilirubin less than or equal to 2 unless consistent with Gilbert s (total/direct greater than 5), ALT and AST less than or equal to 2.5 times upper limits of normal.

No other therapy (i.e. chemotherapy, interferon) for 4 weeks prior to study entry, or cladribine for 6 months prior to study entry.

Age at least 18

Men and women of reproductive potential must agree to use an acceptable method of birth control during treatment and for twelve months after completion of treatment.

Subject has provided written informed consent

Patients must be willing to co-enroll in the investigator s companion protocol 10-C-0066 titled Collection of Human Samples to Study Hairy Cell and other Leukemias, and to Develop Recombinant Immunotoxins for Cancer Treatment .


Presence of active untreated infection

Uncontrolled coronary disease or NYHA class III-IV heart disease.

Known infection with HIV. Hepatitis B is allowed only if viral load is undetectable andif on anti-hepatitis B therapy like Entecavir. Hepatitis C is allowed only if viral load is undetectable, and if the patient has received curative therapy.

Patients with documented history of no response to cladribine, and without 50% improvement in platelets, hemoglobin or granulocytes. This exclusion does not apply to HCLv. These patients are eligible regardless of prior response to CDA.

Pregnant or lactating women.

Presence of active 2nd malignancy requiring treatment. 2nd malignancies with low activity which do not require treatment (i.e. low grade prostate cancer, basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer) do not constitute exclusions.

Inability to comply with study and/or follow-up procedures.

Presence of CNS disease, which is symptomatic.

At the Investigator s discretion, receipt of a live vaccine within 4 weeks prior to randomization. Efficacy and/or safety of immunization during periods of B-cell depletion have not been adequately studied. It is recommended that a patient s vaccination record and possible requirements be reviewed. Per the investigator s discretion, the patient may have any required vaccination/booster administered at least 4 weeks prior to the initiation of study treatment. Review of the patient s immunization status for the following vaccinations is recommended: tetanus; diphtheria; influenza; pneumococcal polysaccharide; Varicella; measles, mumps and rubella (MMR); and hepatitis B. Patients who are considered to be at high risk for hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and for whom the investigator has determined that immunization is indicated should complete the entire HBV vaccine series at least 4 weeks prior to participation in the study.

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Bouroncle BA. Thirty-five years in the progress of hairy cell leukemia. Leuk Lymphoma. 1994;14 Suppl 1:1-12.

Kreitman RJ, Cheson BD. Malignancy: Current Clinical Practice: Treatment of Hairy Cell Leukemia at the Close of the 20th Century. Hematology. 1999;4(4):283-303.

Jemal A, Siegel R, Ward E, Murray T, Xu J, Thun MJ. Cancer statistics, 2007. CA Cancer J Clin. 2007 Jan-Feb;57(1):43-66.

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Principal Investigator

Referral Contact

For more information:

Robert J. Kreitman, M.D.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
(301) 648-7375

Julie C. Feurtado, R.N.
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
National Institutes of Health
Building 10
Room 12N214
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
(301) 480-6186

NCI Referral Office
National Institute of Health Clinical Center (CC), 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, United States: NCI Clinical Trials Referral Office

Clinical Trials Number:


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