Dr. Ayers on Unmet Needs in CLL

Emily C. Ayers, MD, discusses unmet needs in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Emily C. Ayers, MD, hematologist​/oncologist​, assistant professor, University of Virginia Health, discusses unmet needs in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

Currently, CLL is an incurable disease, ​Ayers says. Although new therapies have prolonged survival for patients ​with CLL, additional therapies directed toward novel targets are needed in the relapsed/refractory setting because patients frequent​ly relapse and require multiple lines of therapy​.

In the past few years, several exciting developments​ have been made in CLL, including fixed-duration therapy with venetoclax (Venclexta)​, explains Ayers. With this regimen, patients receive treatment ​with venetoclax for ​1 to 2 years depending on the number of prior lines of therapy they ​have received. Once patients have completed the 1 to 2 years of treatment, they are closely monitored.

In terms of ongoing research, the role of minimal residual disease is under exploration​, says Ayers.

Looking forward, ​patients who achieve deep and durable remission ​may be able to discontinue therapy, Ayers concludes.