Dr. Jain on the Combination of Venetoclax and Ibrutinib in CLL

Nitin Jain, MD

Nitin Jain, MD, assistant professor, Department of Leukemia, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the combination of venetoclax (Venclexta) and ibrutinib (Imbruvica) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Outcomes of patients with CLL have improved remarkably over the past few years, says Jain. Two of the current FDA-approved agents, venetoclax and ibrutinib, are effective, but they generally lead to partial remissions.

In a phase II trial of patients with previously untreated high-risk CLL and relapsed/refractory CLL, the combination of venetoclax and ibrutinib was evaluated. Patients received ibrutinib for 3 months as monotherapy, and then venetoclax was added. Those eligible for the trial were patients with high-risk features, age 65 or older, and relapsed or refractory.

Preliminary results for the first 77 patients were presented at the 2017 ASH Annual Meeting, demonstrating that this combination was safe and active in patients with CLL. Jain reports that the majority of patients were in partial remission after the first 3 months on ibrutinib, and a high rate of complete remission (CR) was seen within 3 months of adding venetoclax. The CR increased to 61%, and continued to improve over time, Jain adds.
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