Achieving Long-term Remission with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)

Matthew Davids, MD

Please join us as we speak to Dr. Matthew Davids of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In this episode, Dr. Davids discusses current treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and the exciting possibilities for the future using immunotherapies.

Dr. Davids shares how the goal of treatment is long term remission and quality of life. Since 2010, BTK Inhibitors, CAR T-cell therapy and other treatments have come on the market and have increased the possibilities for patients to live a long life with CLL.

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Support for this episode provided by BeiGene USA, Inc.; Bristol Myers Squibb; Genentech, Inc. & Biogen; Loxo Oncology at Lilly and Pharmacyclics, An AbbVie Company & Janssen Biotech, and Thomas D. Oxley Fund for CLL Patient Education and Support.


  1. Dx’d with CLL in 1998, I’ve watched the amazing developments and am grateful for them, if not for myself, then for my sister and the rest of our family. Our father died of CLL in 1950, before they even had chemotherapies. He was given experimental drugs of all kinds, which may have prolonged his life. I too had an experimental drug for my CLL. In 2002, after treatment cycles that resulted in shorter and shorter remissions, I was placed in a very limited trial combining fludarabine with Thalidomide, and a control group that had Thalidomide alone. I went into a remission that became a CR, and I’ve happily remained in that remission for about 20 yrs. Thalidomide was not used again for CLL. Though effective, it was a very difficult drug to tolerate, resulting in extensive and permanent neuropathy in many cases, including mine. My sister benefitted from the kinase inhibitors in various combinations and is doing excellently.
    When Dr. Davids discussed the COVID 19 treatment Evusheld, he recommended it for people with compromised immune systems, saying that was the case for anyone with CLL. While my sister’s response to the COVID vaccines was not good, she’s only been in a CR for a little over a year, whereas I’ve been in for a decade, as I said. Am I still considered immune-system compromised? Should I be taking Evusheld instead of the booster shots? In addition to them? Any light shed on this would be appreciated.

    1. Hello Ellen,

      Blood cancer patients and survivors, particularly CLL patients, are considered immunocompromised regardless if they are currently in complete remission. We recommend visiting out COVID page for more information or contact our Information Specialists at 1-800-955-4572. They would be able to help guide you with your questions.

  2. Excellent podcast. It was very informative and helpful as a patient recently diagnosed and on watch and wait status.

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