Phase II trial of recombinant immunotoxin RFB4(dsFv)-PE38 (BL22) in patients with hairy cell leukemia

Robert J. Kreitman, Maryalice Stetler-Stevenson, Inger Margulies, Pierre Noel, David J.P. FitzGerald, Wyndham H. Wilson, Ira Pastan

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174 Scopus citations


Purpose: To conduct a phase II trial in chemoresistant hairy cell leukemia (HCL) with BL22, a recombinant anti-CD22 immunotoxin which showed phase I activity in HCL. Patients and Methods: Eligible patients had relapsed/refractory HCL and needed treatment based on blood counts. Patients were stratified into three groups: response to cladribine less than 1 year, those with a response lasting 1 to 4 years, or no response and uncontrolled infection. Patients received BL22 40 μg/kg every other day for three doses on cycle 1. Those achieving hematologic remission (HR), defined as neutrophils ≥ 1,500/mm3, hemoglobin ≥ 11 g/dL, and platelets ≥ 100,000/mm3, were observed. Patients without HR were re-treated at 30 μg/kg every other day for three doses every 4 weeks beginning at least 8 weeks after cycle 1. Results: Thirty-six patients were enrolled including 26, nine, and one in groups 1 to 3. The response after one cycle (CR, 25%; PR, 25%) improved when 56% were re-treated (CR, 47%; PR, 25%). CR rate was similar in groups 1 and 2 (P = .7). Twenty-two with baseline spleen height lower than 200 mm had higher CR (64% v 21%; P = .019) and OR rates (95% v 36%; P = .0002) compared to 14 with spleens either absent or higher than 200 mm. The only serious toxicity was reversible grade 3 hemolytic uremic syndrome, not requiring plasmapheresis, in two patients (6%). High neutralizing antibodies were observed in four patients (11%) and prevented re-treatment. Conclusion: BL22 activity in HCL is confirmed. Best responses to BL22 after cladribine failure are achieved before the patients develop massive splenomegaly or undergo splenectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2983-2990
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number18
StatePublished - Jun 20 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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