In a nutshell
This study examined the safety and effectiveness of venetoclax (Venclexta) in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Researchers found that venetoclax was safe and effective in these patients.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is a type of cancer of the bone marrow that can lead to an abnormal immune system. Over time, CLL can become unresponsive to treatment. Venetoclax is a newer targeted therapy that works by blocking specific proteins on the cancer cells. Most information about this treatment for patients with CLL comes from clinical trials. It is important to understand the safety and effectiveness of venetoclax in real practice.
Methods & findings
One-hundred and forty-one patients with CLL were included in the study. The majority of patients had relapsed or refractory (did not respond to treatment) disease. Venetoclax was administered and the dose was gradually increased until a maximum dose was reached. Forty-one (29%) patients stopped venetoclax therapy before the end of the study and 24 (17%) began another therapy such as ibrutinib (Imbruvica).
Overall response rate to venetoclax was 72.1%. This included 19.4% of patients who had complete remission (no sign of cancer after treatment). 68% of patients had not experienced disease progression at 12 months. Overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause) was 88% at 12 months.
Side effects of treatment included fever (11.6%), diarrhea (7.3%), infections (7.8%), and low white blood cell count (47.4%). Tumor lysis syndrome (a complication where large amounts of dead cancer cells are released into the bloodstream) occured in 13.4%.
The bottom line
Authors concluded that venetoclax was a safe and effective treatment option for the majority of patients with CLL included in this study.
The fine print
Patients in this study received other treatments to help reduce side effects and this may have affected results and data. The study had a small sample size which warrants larger research.
Published By :
Jun 07, 2018