Major Breakthroughs in Treating Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia


Susan M. O'Brien, MD, discusses breakthroughs in the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia throughout the preceding year.

Susan M. O’Brien, MD: In this past year, I would not call anything a major breakthrough. There were a lot of important data and information, but to me a breakthrough is a new drug or a new mechanism of action that's very exciting. That being said, there were some important data.

One trial that was very important is the GLOW trial (NCT03462719), although ironically, it's a very important trial [but] anybody could have predicted the outcome. What I mean is that it’s an important trial because it's a registration trial. It could lead to the FDA approval of the combination of ibrutinib (Imbruvica) and venetoclax (Venclexta). The reason I would say it wasn't so exciting is because the control arm was chlorambucil and obinutuzumab (Gazyva), and we all knew which arm was going to be better. Obviously, it was just a question of how much better but again, a very important trial because it could be practice changing in that it could lead to the approval of the combination. To be practice changing, that means that people have to use that combination. That will be very interesting because it brings up the question, will you have better results by combining or sequencing drugs? That's a very important active question that we all think about a lot.

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