Matthew Steven Davids, MD, MMSc, on the Venetoclax, R-EPOCH Combo for Richter’s Syndrome

July 26, 2020

The CLL expert spoke about the implications of this study for patients and how patients can apply this knowledge to their own course of treatment.

Results from a multicenter phase II study of venetoclax (Venclexta) plus dose-adjusted R-EPOCH (rituximab [Rituxan], etoposide phosphate [Etopophos], prednisone [Rayos], vincristine sulfate [Marqibo], cyclophosphamide, and doxorubicin hydrochloride) in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who developed Richter’s syndrome, presented at the 2020 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Virtual Scientific Program, indicated that the treatment combination could be effective in this patient population.

In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Matthew Steven Davids, MD, MMSc, an attending physician in the Lymphoma Program of the Division of Hematologic Malignancies and associate director of the CLL Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, discussed the implications of this study for patients and how patients can apply this knowledge to their own course of treatment.

Transcription:

Yeah, so for patients, I would say that, you know, we know that using standard treatment approaches for Richter's syndrome, unfortunately, is not very helpful. And so I would encourage patients whenever possible to seek out the possibility of a clinical trial. Because this is just one of many different promising new approaches looking at treatment of Richter's syndrome. For example, there's immune based strategies like checkpoint blockade, particularly in combination with a ibrutinib I think looks interesting and other novel targets. But you know, if patients don't have access to clinical trials, then I think talking to their oncologist about the data from studies like ours, where, you know, we're using an FDA approved drug for CLL: venetoclax. So in terms of the logistics of getting the drug, it should be fairly straightforward and combining it with the chemotherapy we think could be the right response and the right choice for many patients. But again, they would need to discuss that with their individual oncologist.