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Dr. William Wierda, from the MD Anderson Cancer Center, Discusses Watchful Waiting in CLL
William G. Wierda, MD, PhD, associate professor, Department of Leukemia, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, explains that the standard initial treatment for patients with asymptomatic chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is watchful waiting.
Clinical trials have not illuminated a clear improvement in outcomes linked to providing earlier treatments for CLL, when compared to observation alone. In general, the risks of receiving a treatment outweighed the potential benefits. As a result, the first-line therapy is generally administered following the development of certain indications, such as bone marrow failure, which is reflected by low hemoglobin or platelets counts.
Wierda notes that watchful waiting has been the first step in CLL treatment for many years and will continue to be the best place to start for many patients, until another option becomes available.