Jennifer A. Woyach, MD, Discusses Use of Ibrutinib in CLL at 2021 ASH

Jennifer A. Woyach, MD, spoke about why it’s important to use newer therapies instead of chemoimmunotherapy for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

During the 2021 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting, Jennifer A. Woyach, MD, associate professor in the Division of Hematology at The Ohio State University, discussed the benefits of treating patients with newer agents, such as the Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor ibrutinib [Imbruvica], over chemoimmunotherapy. During the meeting, she is presenting data on ibrutinib-containing regimens in patients 65 years or older, which has been shown to be superior to treatment with bendamustine plus rituximab.


I hope that this continues to make practitioners choose novel therapies for their patients over chemoimmunotherapy. I think there are some special situations where chemoimmunotherapy is still appropriate, but for most patients, they will do better with Bruton’s tyrosine kinase [BTK] inhibitors or with venetoclax [Venclexta] plus obintuzumab [Gazyva] as opposed to a chemoimmunotherapy regimen. The other big thing that we’ve seen from [the phase 3 AO41202 (NCT01886872) trial], and has been shown from other trials in the frontline setting, is that TP53 abnormalities especially don’t make a difference in outcomes with ibrutinib at this time point at least. Patients with or without 17p deletion, with or without TP53 mutation will likely derive the same benefit from ibrutinib. This does set this drug apart from some other classes of medications, even among the novel agents.


Woyach JA, Ruppert AS, Heerema NA, et al. Long-term results of Alliance AO41202 show continued advantage of ibrutinib-based regimens compared with bendamustine plus rituximab (BR) chemoimmunotherapy. Presented at: 63rd American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting; December 11-13, 2021; Atlanta, GA. Accessed December 6, 2021.