Ibrutinib: an evidence-based review of its potential in the treatment of advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Julio C Chavez, Eva Sahakian, Javier Pinilla-Ibarz
H Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute, Division of Malignant Hematology, and University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA
Abstract: Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a heterogeneous disease with a variable course, and remains an incurable disease. Frequent relapses and eventual resistance to fludarabine characterize symptomatic CLL and portends a dismal prognosis for patients. Growing evidence has shown that signaling pathways such as the B cell receptor and NFkB are implicated in the survival and proliferation of the CLL cells which are ultimately associated with persistence of the disease. The Bruton’s tyrosine kinase pathway regulates downstream activation of the B cell receptor and has emerged as an attractive target. Ibrutinib inhibits the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase pathway, and consequently induces apoptosis of B cells. Phase I and II studies have shown impressive response rates with an excellent safety profile in patients with refractory/relapsed CLL and elderly treatment-naïve CLL patients. This paper reviews the preclinical and clinical data for ibrutinib when used in the treatment of CLL. Recent studies showing the benefit of combination therapy using ibrutinib, monoclonal antibodies, and chemoimmunotherapy are also discussed.
Keywords: ibrutinib, B-cell receptor, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Bruton’s tyrosine kinase
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