In a nutshell
This study tests whether a combination of ibrutinib (Imbruvica) and rituximab (Rituxan) is an effective treatment for CLL patients. This study concluded that this combination was effective in high-risk patients.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a blood and bone marrow disease. It often occurs during middle age. CLL patients can be low-risk or high-risk depending on their genetics. Patients with genetic changes, such as 17p deletion (del17p) or TP53 mutation, are considered high risk. Low-risk patients do not have these genetic changes.
Ibrutinib is a type of targeted treatment that blocks a protein involved in cancer growth. It is a common therapy because it is effective and well tolerated in most people. However, it is not yet known if the use of ibrutinib in combination with other treatments such as rituximab (treatment that targets another protein) could also be effective.
Methods & findings
This study involved 40 patients with high-risk CLL, with an average age of 65 years. Most of the patients had already been treated in the past (36 out of 40). 52% of patients had a 17p deletion. All patients were treated with a combination of ibrutinib and rituximab for an average of 41 months.
95% of patients responded to treatment. Nine patients (23%) achieved complete remission (no sign of active disease). Average time to disease progression was significantly shorter in patients with the del17p genetic change (32.3 months).
The bottom line
This study shows that combination treatment with ibrutinib and rituximab was effective high-risk CLL.
The fine print
This was a small study. More research is needed to determine whether the treatment combination is more effective than ibrutinib alone.
Published By :
Clinical Cancer Research
May 01, 2017