Expert Point of View: Claire Dearden, MD

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Patients are very excited about this new, well tolerated drug for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Ibrutinib is available orally and is not chemotherapy. It produces excellent responses. This is particularly important for elderly [ie, age 65 and older] patients who are not always fit enough to withstand the chemotherapy regimens we use to treat younger patients. The drug is also particularly promising for high-risk patients such as those with abnormalities of TP53,” stated Claire Dearden, MD, moderator of a press conference at ASH. Dr. Dearden is Consultant Haematologist and Head of the Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia Unit at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research, and Medical Director of the South West London Cancer Network.

‘Welcome Advance’

If phase III studies validate the phase II findings, ibrutinib will be considered a welcome advance, she continued. “At last, we could have our hands on an easy-to-take drug that may be very safe and effective in these patient groups for whom we haven’t previously had a good treatment. It would be a chemotherapy-free regimen as effective as chemotherapy,” she stated.

“This is hugely exciting for us as clinicians and also for patients who are taking this drug. They feel better very quickly without many of the side effects of chemotherapy, other than diarrhea,” she stated. ■

Disclosure: Dr. Dearden reported no potential conflicts of interest.

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