If you have a type of cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), your healthcare provider may prescribe Clolar. This medication is approved to treat this cancer in children age 1 to 21 years old. It is given as a slow injection into a vein for five days in a row, every two to six weeks. Side effects include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.
Clolar® (clofarabine) is a prescription medication approved to treat children age 1 to 21 years old with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow. It is used after at least two other treatment regimens have failed. Clolar belongs to a group of medicines called purine analogs.
Clolar is made by AAIPharma Services and Teva Pharmachemie for Genzyme Corporation.
Clolar works to treat leukemia in a couple of different ways. The medicine enters cells, where it prevents DNA from replicating. Because DNA replication is necessary for cancer cells to divide, Clolar can block the growth of the leukemia cells.
It also damages the mitochondrial membrane, which is an important part of the cell responsible for providing usable energy. By damaging this vital cell structure, Clolar can cause leukemia cells to die.
Clolar has been studied in clinical trials. In one of these trials, 61 children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia who had failed treatment with at least two previous treatment regimens were given this drug. Twelve of the children (19.7 percent) went into remission. The median length of remission was 10.4 months (the median is the middle number, meaning half of the children were in remission for less than 10.4 months, while half were in remission for more than 10.4 months.)
In addition, six children (9.8 percent) had a partial response to Clolar. A partial response means there are no leukemia cells in the bloodstream and fewer cancer cells in the bone marrow.
Clinical studies did not look at whether the medication could help children with ALL live longer. It is also unknown if Clolar can help cure ALL.