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This randomized phase III trial studies ibrutinib and rituximab to see how well they work compared to fludarabine phosphate, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab in treating patients with untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma. Ibrutinib may stop the growth of cancer cells by blocking some of the enzymes needed for cell growth. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as fludarabine phosphate and cyclophosphamide, work in different ways to stop the growth of cancer cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Monoclonal antibodies, such as rituximab, can block cancer growth in different ways. Some block the ability of cancer to grow and spread. Others find cancer cells and help kill them or carry cancer-killing substances to them. It is not yet known whether fludarabine phosphate, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab are more effective than ibrutinib and rituximab in treating patients with untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma.
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