Key Points

  • In a real-life CLL cohort still on ibrutinib after 3 years, 57% of patients with residual clonal lymphocytosis had a BTK mutation.

  • The presence of a BTK mutation in patients still on ibrutinib conferred a greater likelihood of subsequent CLL progression.

Abstract

Mutational analyses performed following acquired ibrutinib resistance have suggested that chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) progression on ibrutinib is linked to mutations in Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) and/or phospholipase Cγ2 (PLCG2) genes. Mutational information for patients still on ibrutinib is limited. We report a study aimed to provide a “snapshot” of the prevalence of mutations in a real-life CLL cohort still on ibrutinib after at least 3 years of treatment. Of 204 patients who initiated ibrutinib via an early-access program at 29 French Innovative Leukemia Organization (FILO) centers, 63 (31%) were still on ibrutinib after 3 years and 57 provided a fresh blood sample. Thirty patients had a CLL clone ≥0.5 × 109/L, enabling next-generation sequencing (NGS); BTK and PLCG2 mutations were detected in 57% and 13% of the NGS samples, respectively. After median follow-up of 8.5 months from sample collection, the presence of a BTK mutation was significantly associated with subsequent CLL progression (P = .0005 vs no BTK mutation). Our findings support that mutational analysis should be considered in patients receiving ibrutinib who have residual clonal lymphocytosis, and that clinical trials are needed to evaluate whether patients with a BTK mutation may benefit from an early switch to another treatment.

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