Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Coverage from Every Angle

Venetoclax Therapy for Elderly Patients With Resistant CLL

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax appears to have a similar level of tolerability among elderly patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) younger than age 75 and among those 75 years of age and older, according to a study by Toby A. Eyre, MD, of Oxford University Hospitals, Oxford, UK, and colleagues published in the British Journal of Haematology. The investigators suggest that their findings warrant additional study of outcomes for different dosing strategies.

“Despite [study limitations], these data provide a comprehensive analysis of key safety measures and demonstrate that venetoclax appears to have similar efficacy and safety in relapsed/refractory elderly CLL patients who otherwise may have few clear therapeutic options,” the authors concluded. “Analyses such as these may inform prescribing choices in the elderly in the future.”

For this international study, a total of 342 patients with relapsed or refractory CLL were enrolled. Two hundred and seventy-one patients were younger than age 75, and 71 patients were 75 years of age and older at the time they started therapy. The patients, 69% of whom were men, received venetoclax as monotherapy (79%) or in combination (21%).

The median follow-up was 11.6 months for the entire group, and survival analysis was estimated by Kaplan-Meier methods. The overall response rate for patients older than age 75 was 82%, and it was 81.6% for patients 75 years of age and older. The groups showed no difference in 1-year progression-free survival or 1-year overall survival rates. Of the total, 142 patients stopped using venetoclax, with the majority discontinuing its use due to progressive disease or Richter’s transformation.

Disclosure: The study authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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