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Among CLL patients who received chemotherapy almost 60% started chemotherapy ≥6 months after diagnosis. Chlorambucil was the most common type of chemotherapy, irrespective of timing of start. Almost half of the patients was hospitalised in the year prior to diagnosis and a similar proportion was hospitalised in the year after chemotherapy treatment. The mean (±sd) number of out-patient drug dispensings in these periods was 20 (±18) and 34 (±41) respectively. One-year survival rate after diagnosis was 94% and the median progression free survival after the first treatment line ranged from 17 months in patients starting chemotherapy within 6 months after diagnosis to 27 months in patients starting chemotherapy ≥6 months after diagnosis.

This was concluded in a study recently published in the Journal of Clinical Intensive Care and Medicine. The study assessed the chemotherapy exposure, healthcare utilisation, overall survival and progression free survival in patients diagnosed with CLL between 1998 and 2011. Linked data from the Eindhoven Cancer Registry and the PHARMO Database Network was used.

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