Patients on an extended clinical trial of the targeted therapy ibrutinib have their relapsed or resistant chronic lymphocytic leukemia stymied even as side effects decline more than two years into the study.
It was a busy day for MD Anderson investigators -- 21 faculty members conducted 25 oral presentations today in leukemia, lymphoma, stem cell transplantation and hemopathology.
Out of 140 patients in the phase II trial, 86 percent of those who were previously untreated had a partial or complete response to the oral drug while 88 percent of those with relapsed or treatment-resistant CLL also responded to ibrutinib. Progression-free survival at 30 months was 76 percent of patients.
"Among patients with relapsed or refractory CLL, it's really amazing that so many people would still be responding and on the drug well out over two years. This is a very exciting drug," says O'Brien.
Ibrutinib continues to be well-tolerated, with most patients staying on the drug until disease progression, O'Brien noted, rather than having to quit due to side effects or other complications. Ibrutinib does not cure CLL but cuts down the disease, halts progression and improves quality of life.