Monoclonal Antibody Therapy

Alemtuzumab (MABCAMPATH®)

Alemtuzumab (MABCAMPATH®) is used for the treatment of patients with previously untreated progressive B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Alemtuzumab is also used for the treatment of patients with B-CLL when other chemotherapy treatments have been unsuccessful.

Alemtuzumab binds to an antigen, called CD52, on the surface of B-CLL cells, as well as many normal white blood cells. After binding to cells, alemtuzumab destroys them, and they are gradually removed from the body as usual.

Side effects may include:

  • Infusion reactions such as nausea, fever, skin rash
  • Low levels of red or white blood cells
  • Blood disorders
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalophathy (PML)
  • Serious and some fatal infections

 

Obinutuzumab (GAZYVA®)

Obinutuzumab (GAZYVA®) is used to treat CLL in adults who have not had any treatment before. Obinutuzumab binds to the surface of the “B lymphocyte” cells and causes them to die.

Side effects may include:

  • Low levels of white or red blood cells
  • Infusion reactions such as skin rash, nausea, fever
  • Recurrence of hepatitis B virus infection
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalophathy (PML)
  • Tumour Lysis Syndrome (TLS)
  • Serious including fatal cardiovascular events
  • Fatal bleeding events

Ofatumumab (ARZERRA™)

Ofatumumab (ARZERRA™) is used in combination with chlorambucil to treat CLL in patients who have not received previous therapy and for whom fludarabine-based therapy is considered inappropriate. Ofatumumab is also used alone to treat CLL in patients who have not responded to other types of chemotherapy or other treatments. Its use in these patients has been approved by Health Canada, pending the results of studies to verify its clinical benefit.

Side effects may include:

  • Low levels of red or white blood cells
  • Infusion reactions such as nausea, fever, skin rash
  • Recurrence of hepatitis, which could result in liver failure and death
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalophathy (PML)
  • Serious and/or fatal cardiovascular events
  • Serious and sometimes fatal infections
  • Infection of the lung or airways, ears, nose or throat

 

Rituximab (RITUXAN®)

Rituximab (RITUXAN®) is used to stop cancer cell growth and ideally cause the death of cancer cells.

Rituximab targets the CD-20 marker that is located on the B-cell lymphocyte to stop its activity. When in place, it works to stop the growth of the cancer cells and may destroy them.

Side effects may include:

  • Infusion reactions such as nausea, fever, skin rash
  • Allergic reaction
  • Tumour lysis syndrome (TLS)
  • Recurrence of Hepatitis B virus infection
  • Serious and sometimes fatal infections
  • Skin reactions such as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) and Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS)
  • Serious and potentially fatal cardiovascular events
  • Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML)