Issue: 2016 > March > original article

The beneficial local and abscopal effect of splenic irradiation in frail patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

A.M. Aalbers, M.J. Aarts, A.D.G. Krol, C.A.M. Marijnen, E.F.M. Posthuma
AbstractFull textPDF


Background: Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a common haematological malignancy that mainly occurs in the elderly population. Patients frequently have comorbidities compromising the use of old and new systemic therapies.
Methods and results: We report the prevalence of comorbidities in patients with CLL as present in the southern region of the Netherlands Cancer Registry. Comorbid conditions were present in 67% of the male and 63% of the female patients, and became more common with increasing age. Furthermore, we describe the beneficial local and abscopal effects of splenic irradiation in four patients with CLL who were not suitable for systemic chemoimmunotherapy because of severe comorbidities, or who were unwilling to undergo systemic therapy.
Conclusion: Our results show that, although an old tool, splenic irradiation should not be forgotten as a potentially effective palliative treatment option in frail patients with symptomatic CLL.