Paul M. Barr, MD, Examines Head-to-Head Data on BTK Inhibitors in Previously Treated, High-Risk CLL

CancerNetwork® sat down with Paul M. Barr, MD, at the 2021 ASCO Annual Meeting to talk about what data has the greatest potential to impact standard treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

When asked about which research presentation from the 2021 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting had the greatest potential to impact future treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Paul M. Barr, MD, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, talked about findings from a phase 3 trial comparing 2 Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors as treatment for patients with previously treated high-risk disease. These results are the first to compare these standard-of-care agents in a head-to-head, randomized fashion in this setting.


In terms of CLL, everyone is very much looking forward to seeing the granular data for the ELEVATE[-RR (NCT02477696)] study.2 This was a randomized study enrolling high-risk, relapse patients to single-agent ibrutinib [Imbruvica] or single-agent acalabrutinib [Tecentriq]. We saw press releases suggesting noninferiority for acalabrutinib compared with ibrutinib and perhaps a lower rate of arrhythmias and other cardiac events.2 What we know right now is that we have 2 really good single agents. We really need to look at the presentation and the specifics of the datasets to understand the subtle differences between the 2 agents. I think that’s one of many abstracts that everyone’s really looking forward to seeing a little more closely.


Byrd JC, Hillmen P, Ghia P, et al. First results of a head-to-head trial of acalabrutinib versus ibrutinib in previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia. J Clin Oncol. 2021;39(suppl 15):7500. doi:10.1200/JCO.2021.39.15_suppl.7500

Calquence met primary efficacy endpoint in head-to-head trial against ibrutinib in chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. News release. AstraZeneca. January 25, 2021. Accessed June 9, 2021.