Key Points

  • Acalabrutinib demonstrated safety and durable remission in a phase 1/2 clinical trial in previously untreated CLL.

  • Long-term data from this study support use of acalabrutinib as initial therapy for patients with symptomatic CLL.

Abstract

Acalabrutinib has demonstrated significant efficacy and safety in relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Efficacy and safety of acalabrutinib monotherapy were evaluated in a treatment-naive CLL cohort of a single-arm phase 1/2 trial (ACE-CL-001). Adults were eligible for enrollment if chemotherapy was declined or deemed inappropriate due to comorbidities (N = 99). Patients had a median age of 64 years and 47% had Rai stage III/IV disease. Acalabrutinib was administered orally 200 mg once daily, or 100 mg twice daily until progression or intolerance. A total of 99 patients were treated; 57 (62%) had unmutated immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable gene, and 12 (18%) had TP53 aberrations. After median follow-up of 53 months, 85 patients remain on treatment; 14 discontinued treatment, mostly because of adverse events (AEs) (n = 6) or disease progression (n = 3). Overall response rate was 97% (90% partial response; 7% complete response), with similar outcomes among all prognostic subgroups. Because of improved trough BTK occupancy with twice-daily dosing, all patients were transitioned to 100 mg twice daily. Median duration of response (DOR) was not reached; 48-month DOR rate was 97% (95% confidence interval, 90-99). Serious AEs were reported in 38 patients (38%). AEs required discontinuation in 6 patients (6%) because of second primary cancers (n = 4) and infection (n = 2). Grade ≥3 events of special interest included infection (15%), hypertension (11%), bleeding events (3%), and atrial fibrillation (2%). Durable efficacy and long-term safety of acalabrutinib in this trial support its use in clinical management of symptomatic, untreated patients with CLL.

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