Short communication: Bendamustine-related hemolytic anemia in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Neta Goldschmidt, Alexander Gural, Dina Ben-Yehuda, Moshe E. Gatt*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Purpose: Immune hemolytic anemia (IHA) may complicate the course of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), especially in patients with advanced disease, and as a complication of treatment with chlorambucil or fludarabine. Bendamustine, a novel agent with both alkylating and purine-analog properties, was approved in the USA for use in CLL in 2008. Since then, clinical data on its adverse events are accumulating. IHA related to bendamustine was seldom described and is thus reported and reviewed. Methods: We assessed five cases of CLL patients complicated by IHA, out of 31 treated with bendamustine for a relapse of their disease. Also reviewed are previous case reports in the literature. Results and conclusions: Bendamustine-related IHA is more common than suspected (16 %). No such cases were found in non-CLL patients. Personal history of fludarabine-triggered AIHA may be a risk factor for this complication (recorded in 4/5 patients, 80 %). The mechanism is thought to be related to the loss of T cell regulatory control as described for other agents. Physicians using bendamustine for the treatment for CLL should be aware of this complication.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)709-713
Number of pages5
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Bendamustine
  • CLL
  • Hemolysis
  • Toxicity


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