Oral Therapy Improves Survival in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Dr. Richard Furman, MD
Dr. Richard Furman, MD

Patients with relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) often have limited therapeutic options due to illnesses such as heart problems, kidney problems, or limited mobility. In the January 22nd edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Richard Furman and colleagues published the results of an international phase III trial evaluating the oral drug idelalisib in patients with relapsed CLL and significant coexisting medical conditions. Idelalisib is an inhibitor of the enzyme PI3K, which is overactive in many lymphomas. The trial was stopped early due to overwhelming evidence of benefit from idelalisib. These results will likely provide a basis for FDA approval of idelalisib in the near future. Highlights from the trial include the following:

  • Patients receiving idelalisib plus rituximab versus those receiving rituximab alone had significantly improved rates of survival at 12 months.
  • Toxicities between the two arms were comparable.

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