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Ask the Expert: How Do Steroids Affect CLL Treatment Response?

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Published on November 14, 2017

CLL patients can be prescribed steroids as a part of a treatment regimen, but how do they influence the body’s ability to reach remission? Expert, Dr. Michael Keating, joins us from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, to describe the potential impact of steroids on treatment response.

This Ask the Expert series is a Patient Empowerment Network program produced by Patient Power.   We thank AbbVie and Genentech for their support.

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What a wonderful time we had! We were excited like fans at a rock concert, but our rock stars were the medical experts.

— Lynn, CLL town meeting attendee

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Transcript | Ask the Expert: How Do Steroids Affect CLL Treatment Response?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Andrew Schorr:

Okay. Here’s someone who wrote in and said I watched my broadcast from treatment, which I’ve done as I’ve been going through treatment with obinutuzumab (Gazyva) but for some cycles with high-dose steroids and his questions, and I know there’s debate about this, is how do steroids affect response?

Dr. Keating:         

Steroids have an impact in the depth of remission to a degree. There hasn’t been a comparison made of the same regimen with and without corticosteroids. The studies that were done with steroids alone in the past show that they weremarginally active and associated with an increased likelihood of getting infections, so that’s the major issue that’s around at the present time. 

It doesn’t appear that by themselves they’re very good drugs in CLL, as opposed to lymphomas and acute lymphocytic leukemia.

Andrew Schorr:

So we’re trying to figure out does combining them add a kick safely?

Dr. Keating:         

It seemed to improve the cell killing in laboratories and probably clinically in combination with rituximab (Rituxan). I think it’s unknown whether it’s going to improve the response to obinutuzumab or Gazyva.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

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