Dr. Ghia on ASCEND Trial Results for Previously Treated CLL

Paolo Ghia, MD
Published: Monday, Sep 09, 2019



Paolo Ghia, MD, assistant professor, Universitá Vita-Salute San Raffaele and IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, discusses the efficacy results of the ASCEND trial, which examined the use of acalabrutinib (Calquence) monotherapy in patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Results of the ASCEND trial showed that acalabrutinib is more effective than rituximab (Rituxan)/idelalisib (Zydelig) and rituximab/bendamustine in patients with previously treated CLL, Ghia explains. Acalabrutinib alone did not reach its median progression-free survival, which was around 16 months for the other 2 arms, according to Ghia.

Additionally, acalabrutinib has a better toxicity profile than rituximab/idelalisib and rituximab/bendamustine, says Ghia. For example, almost 50% of the patients treated with rituximab/idelalisib reported cases of diarrhea and colitis, whereas diarrhea was much less frequent with acalabrutinib and colitis was nonexistent. Patients who received acalabrutinib might have experienced bleeding, which is present in 25% of patients who receive BTK inhibitors, or a transient headache, which is typical. These adverse events need to be evaluated with a longer follow-up, Ghia concludes.
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Paolo Ghia, MD, assistant professor, Universitá Vita-Salute San Raffaele and IRCCS Ospedale San Raffaele, discusses the efficacy results of the ASCEND trial, which examined the use of acalabrutinib (Calquence) monotherapy in patients with previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Results of the ASCEND trial showed that acalabrutinib is more effective than rituximab (Rituxan)/idelalisib (Zydelig) and rituximab/bendamustine in patients with previously treated CLL, Ghia explains. Acalabrutinib alone did not reach its median progression-free survival, which was around 16 months for the other 2 arms, according to Ghia.

Additionally, acalabrutinib has a better toxicity profile than rituximab/idelalisib and rituximab/bendamustine, says Ghia. For example, almost 50% of the patients treated with rituximab/idelalisib reported cases of diarrhea and colitis, whereas diarrhea was much less frequent with acalabrutinib and colitis was nonexistent. Patients who received acalabrutinib might have experienced bleeding, which is present in 25% of patients who receive BTK inhibitors, or a transient headache, which is typical. These adverse events need to be evaluated with a longer follow-up, Ghia concludes.

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