A trial looking at lenalidomide (Revlimid) for B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia that has responded to second line chemotherapy (The CONTINUUM Trial)

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Chronic leukaemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)




Phase 3

This trial compared lenalidomide with a dummy drug (placebo) to see if it stopped chronic lymphocytic leukaemia coming back after second line chemotherapy. It was for people with B cell chronic lymphocytic leukaemia that had responded to 2nd line treatment. 

This trial started in 2009 and the results were published in 2017.

More about this trial

Treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is usually chemotherapy. When the first treatment stops working, your doctor may suggest you have another type. This is called second line treatment.

Lenalidomide is a type of targeted cancer drug. It works mainly by helping the body’s immune system Open a glossary item target cancer cells.

The aim of this trial was to find out if lenalidomide stopped B cell CLL coming back after responding to second line chemotherapy.

Summary of results

The trial team found that lenalidomide did stop B cell CLL coming back after 2nd line treatment but didn’t increase the length of time people lived.
This was an international phase 3 trial. It was a randomised trial. The 314 people who took part were put into 1 of 2 treatment groups.
  • 160 people had lenalidomide
  • 154 people had a dummy drug (placebo Open a glossary item)


After an average follow up of just over 2 ½ years the team looked at how long it took for the leukaemia to come back in each group. They found it was:
  • just under 3 years for those who had lenalidomide
  • just over 9 months for those who had the dummy drug


The team also looked at how long it took for the leukaemia to come back after this treatment in each group. That is when it came back for a 2nd time and needed further treatment. 
They found that it was significantly longer in those who had lenalidomide. They stated this suggests that having long term lenalidomide didn’t affect how well further treatment would work. 
When they looked at how long people in each group lived they found no significant difference. 
The researchers found no significant difference in the quality of life between the 2 groups.
The side effects of lenalidomide were the same as in other trials using lenalidomide. The worst were:
  • diarrhoea
  • tiredness
  • a drop in blood cells

The trial team concluded that lenalidomide can help stop B cell CLL coming back after 2nd line treatment. And that lenalidomide wouldn’t affect how well any future treatment would work. 

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the trial team who did the research. We have not analysed the data ourselves.



Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Prof Andrew Pettitt

Supported by

Celgene Corporation
ICON Clinical Research (UK) Limited

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

No votes yet
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think