Dr. Skarbnik Discusses the Changing Landscape of CLL

Alan Skarbnik, MD
Published: Monday, May 07, 2018



Alan Skarbnik, MD, staff physician, Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Department of Lymphoma, John Theurer Cancer Center, discusses the changing treatment landscape of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

The past few years have brought about a lot of changes to the CLL landscape, Skarbnik says. There have been newer, more effective, and less toxic drugs entering the treatment paradigm, which have pushed the field further. Additionally, combinations have been improving response rates, progression-free survival rates, and survival rates.

One of the most promising combinations has been venetoclax (Venclexta) plus rituximab (Rituxan). This combination reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 83% versus bendamustine plus rituximab in patients with relapsed/refractory CLL, according to results from the phase III MURANO trial.

Additionally, investigators have been looking at evidence suggesting the importance of minimal residual disease negativity in CLL, Skarbnik says. Some patients can experience long-term treatment-free intervals, but since many of the novel therapies need to be given continuously, there is work being done to see if treatment can be stopped early.


Alan Skarbnik, MD, staff physician, Department of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Department of Lymphoma, John Theurer Cancer Center, discusses the changing treatment landscape of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

The past few years have brought about a lot of changes to the CLL landscape, Skarbnik says. There have been newer, more effective, and less toxic drugs entering the treatment paradigm, which have pushed the field further. Additionally, combinations have been improving response rates, progression-free survival rates, and survival rates.

One of the most promising combinations has been venetoclax (Venclexta) plus rituximab (Rituxan). This combination reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 83% versus bendamustine plus rituximab in patients with relapsed/refractory CLL, according to results from the phase III MURANO trial.

Additionally, investigators have been looking at evidence suggesting the importance of minimal residual disease negativity in CLL, Skarbnik says. Some patients can experience long-term treatment-free intervals, but since many of the novel therapies need to be given continuously, there is work being done to see if treatment can be stopped early.



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