The latest developments with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies in chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Introduction: In more recent years, anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies have become the backbone in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Historically, these antibodies were typically combined with chemotherapeutic agents. At present, therapeutic outcomes are significantly improving with the introduction of several novel targeted drugs to the clinical repertoire.

Areas covered: In this review, we summarize the current clinical standard together with the latest developments in the field of anti-CD20 antibodies against CLL. In addition, novel promising drugs against CLL are discussed, as well as their potential for combination with anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies.

Expert opinion: At present, there are three different anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies approved for the treatment of CLL with diverse effector mechanisms. These antibodies provide a robust foundation for combination therapy with novel molecules. Current research should be focused on reducing toxicity and reaching long-lasting remissions. There is still much to gain regarding the optimization of treatment combinations and dosing schedules for CLL. Overcoming the limitations of currently used anti-CD20 antibodies will be critical to further improve the efficacy of CLL therapy.