Fixed-duration combination treatment including venetoclax or ibrutinib plus obinutuzumab can induce deep remissions in high-risk CLL.
Responses are also durable after MRD-guided discontinuation of treatment.
Fifty-one of 189 evaluable patients from 3 prospective phase 2 trials evaluating a sequential targeted treatment had high-risk chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with a 17p deletion, TP53 mutation, or both. Twenty-seven patients started treatment with bendamustine debulking before induction and maintenance treatment, which was ibrutinib/ofatumumab (IO) in 21 patients, ibrutinib/obinutuzumab (IG) in 13, and venetoclax/obinutuzumab (AG) in 17. The primary end point was overall response rate after 8 months of induction treatment, which was 81%, 100%, and 94% for IO, IG, and AG, respectively. Minimal residual disease (MRD) was undetectable (uMRD) in peripheral blood (<10−4 by flow cytometry) in 0%, 23%, and 82% of patients, respectively. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 45 months. Seventeen patients discontinued maintenance treatment due to uMRD: 9 progressed, 2 died without progression (median PFS, 28 months after discontinuation of treatment), and 6 remained in remission after a median observation time of 46 months (range, 6-47 months) after treatment discontinuation. Thus, MRD-guided fixed-duration therapies combining obinutuzumab with venetoclax or ibrutinib can induce deep and durable remissions in CLL patients with high-risk genetic lesions, which can persist after treatment discontinuation (due to a predefined fixed-duration or MRD-guided early termination). The median PFS was 45 months. These trials were registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02345863, #NCT02401503, and #NCT02689141.