Dr. Kay Discusses Combination Strategies in CLL

Neil E. Kay, MD

Neil E. Kay, MD, professor of medicine, Mayo Clinic, discusses combination strategies for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

There will always be a role for single-agent ibrutinib (Imbruvica) in the treatment of patients with CLL, says Kay. The ability to tolerate 1 drug is always better than having to tolerate 2. For the individual who is older, such as in their late 70s or early 80s, being on ibrutinib for 4 or 5 years with a good response would be quite reasonable.

However, ibrutinib alone does not induce a high level of complete responses (CRs). If a patient has a CR, ibrutinib will not give them a minimal residual disease (MRD)-negative status. Therefore, combinations will be necessary if the goal is to get to a CR with MRD-negative status. There are ongoing trials that are investigating those combinations with preliminary data that look promising. The combinations are encouraging, explains Kay.
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