Guidelines for clinical protocols for chronic lymphocytic leukemia: Recommendations of the national cancer institute‐sponsored working group

Bruce D. Cheson, John M. Bennett, Kanti R. Rai, Michael R. Grever, Neil E. Kay, Charles A. Schiffer, Martin M. Oken, Michael J. Keating, David H. Boldt, Sanford J. Kempin, Kenneth A. Foon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

375 Scopus citations


The National Cancer Institute (NCI)‐sponsored Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Working Group was convened to develop a set of standardized eligibility, response, and toxicity criteria for clinical trials. We recognized the previous efforts in 1967 published again in 1973 as the report of the Chronic Leukemia‐Myeloma Task Force [1] and 1978 of Cancer and Leukemia Group B (CALGB) [2]. We have used these reports for guidance during the current effort. Several noteworthy developments in the past few years have made it necessary to modify the previous guidelines. First, the diagnostic criteria for CLL and its clinical staging have been developed and well defined. Second, although staging systems facilitated entry of comparable and relatively homogeneous groups of patients in clinical trials, the definitions of response (CR) and partial response (PR) were not uniformly adopted from the previous guidelines in the clinical trials (Tables IA, IB); therefore, comparisons of results obtained in different studies became difficult. Third, there has been an improvement in our understanding of the immunology and biology of CLL. Finally, we are witnessing the emergence of several chemotherapy agents that promise impressive activity in CLL (e.g., 2′‐deoxycoformycin [3], fludarabine monophos‐phate [4,5]), and thereby offer the potential for improving survival time in this disease. To best identify regimens worthy of continued pursuit in large comparative trials, standardized guidelines for evaluation are essential. A number of laboratory investigations are also presented for which scientific interest is high yet relevance remains to be determined; thus, they are presented as companion studies to the clinical trials. This mechanism allows for flexibility in the testing of these questions and for additional ideas in the future without requiring modification of an entire treatment protocol.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)152-163
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican journal of hematology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1988


  • CLL
  • Rai and Binet systems
  • complete response
  • partial response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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