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Experience with ibrutinib for first-line use in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia

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Published:1st Jan 2018
Author: Itchaki G, Brown JR.
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Ref.:Ther Adv Hematol. 2018;9(1):3-19.

Ibrutinib is the first in-class, orally administered, Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor that abrogates the critical signaling downstream of the B-cell receptor (BCR). This signaling is required for B-cell survival, proliferation and interaction with the microenvironment. Ibrutinib proved active in preclinical models of lymphoproliferative diseases and achieved impressive response rates in heavily pretreated relapsed and refractory (R/R) patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Ibrutinib prolonged survival compared to standard therapy and mitigated the effect of most poor prognostic factors in CLL, thus becoming the main therapeutic option in high-risk populations. Moreover, compared with standard chemoimmunotherapy (CIT) for adults, ibrutinib causes fewer cytopenias and infections, while having its own unique toxicity profile. Its efficacy in relapsed patients as well as its tolerability have led to its increased use in previously untreated patients, especially in those with poor prognostic markers and/or the elderly. This review elaborates on ibrutinib's unique toxicity profile and the mechanisms of acquired resistance leading to progression on ibrutinib, since both are critical for understanding the obstacles to its first-line use. We will further evaluate the data from ongoing clinical trials in this setting and explore future options for combination therapy.


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