Management of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia during the SARS‑CoV‑2 pandemic (Review)
Affiliations: Department of Hematology, Faculty of Medicine, Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, 550169 Sibiu, Romania
- Published online on: July 3, 2021 https://doi.org/10.3892/ol.2021.12897
Copyright: © Mihaila
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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Oncohematological patients are prone to develop infections due to immunosuppression caused by the disease and chemo‑immunotherapy. The aim of this review was to outline the details of the management of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) during the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS‑CoV‑2) pandemic. Patients with CLL often exhibit inadequate humoral and cellular immune responses to various infections and vaccinations. Patients under the ‘watch and wait’ strategy have a lower risk of infections, including with SARS‑CoV‑2, compared with those undergoing therapeutic interventions, but they still have a higher risk than age‑matched controls. Patients with CLL have a high risk of developing severe forms of coronavirus disease‑2019 (COVID‑19), particularly if they are undergoing chemo‑immunotherapy. The total anti‑SARS‑CoV‑2 antibody titer demonstrates a slower increase in patients with CLL infected with the virus, and the antibody levels tend to decrease after reaching a maximum level sooner than in healthy individuals. This leads to a late negativation of the PCR tests and a longer duration of hospitalization. In total, ~1/3 of patients with CLL do not develop a persistent titer of antiviral antibodies, and this is associated with the presence of hypogammaglobulinemia. It appears that patients with CLL have the worst outcomes amongst patients with malignant hemopathies and SARS‑CoV‑2 infection. Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors reduce the hyperinflammatory status of patients with CLL with COVID‑19, which is accompanied by decreased levels of serum inflammatory markers, ferritin and D‑dimer, and serum levels of pro‑inflammatory cytokines, but they increase the risk of infections and impaired humoral immunity. An abrupt discontinuation of these may promote the rapid decompensation of CLL, which may even mimic the clinical manifestations of COVID‑I9, including a significant increase in cytokine release. In conclusion, therapeutic decisions must be personalized to each patient with CLL and each at risk patient must be quarantined during the SARS‑CoV‑2 pandemic to reduce their risk of contraction.