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Testing early treatment for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma

A hematology clinical trial - CLC3

A unique, patient focused trial aims to explore if people with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) live longer with a better quality of life if they start treatment earlier. If someone is diagnosed with CLL or SLL they may not have major symptoms and treatment is often started when they show symptoms such as fever, anemia, or night sweats.

"Watchful waiting can be anxiety-inducing for these patients, and this trial will tell us all if that remains the right thing to do, or if new immune treatments given early will help people live longer," says Dr Annette Hay, CCTG Senior Investigator.

Instead of waiting until they have symptoms, many patients with CLL or SLL want to be treated as soon as possible. Doctors want to test whether early treatment with new drugs can help patients with CLL or SLL live longer, keep their cancer from returning quickly, and improve their quality of life.

“CLL is the most common leukemia in adults, and many patients are too old or frail for chemotherapy drugs or stem cell transplants. They need different treatment options. Because the newer cancer drugs have fewer side effects, this trial could provide a more reasonable option for these patients,” Dr Versha Banerji, CancerCare Manitoba and CLC3 study chair.

Studies have shown that early treatment using older chemotherapy drugs doesn’t improve outcomes compared to later treatment. Researchers want to find out if early treatment with newer, more targeted cancer drugs will help patients live longer and improve their quality of life. To learn this, they will compare outcomes in early and later treatment groups.

“Whether patients receive treatment early or later in their CLL journey can have profound impacts on their quality of life, finances, and family life. We intend to study the impact of such treatment on these outcomes of value to patients,” says Dr Matthew Cheung from the Odette Cancer Centre and Co-Chair of the CCTG Committee on Economic Analysis.

“In a person’s journey with CLL cancer there are “ups” and “downs” and patients should consider these moments an opportunity to realize their strength. This study looks at improving the side effects that patients currently experience which is an important outcome to them and their families,” says Marg Redlick, CCTG Patient Representative, Hematology.

For more information please visit:

Versha Banerji study chair
Dr Versha Banerji, CCTG CLC3 study chair.
cctg senior investigators
CCTG Senior Investigator
Mathew Cheung CCTG committee chair
Dr Matthew Cheung, Committee on Economic Analysis Co-Chair
CCTG patient rep - Marg Redlick
Marg Redlick, CCTG Patient Representative, Hematology