Relapses are frequent after vemurafenib monotherapy, but retreatment with vemurafenib can induce high response rates in HCL.
Vemurafenib retreatment is safe with no additional observed adverse events.
Vemurafenib, an oral BRAF inhibitor, has demonstrated high response rates in relapsed/refractory (R/R) hairy cell leukemia (HCL). However, little is known about long-term outcomes and response to retreatment. Herein, we report the results of 36 patients with R/R HCL treated with vemurafenib from the United States arm of the phase 2 clinical trial (NCT01711632). The best overall response rate was 86%, including 33% complete response (CR) and 53% partial response (PR). After a median follow-up of 40 months, 21 of 31 responders (68%) experienced relapse with a median relapse-free survival (RFS) of 19 months (range, 12.5-53.9 months). There was no significant difference in the RFS for patients with CR vs PR. Fourteen of 21 (67%) relapsed patients were retreated with vemurafenib, with 86% achieving complete hematologic response. Two patients acquired resistance to vemurafenib with the emergence of new KRAS and CDKN2A mutations, respectively. Six of 12 (50%) responders to vemurafenib retreatment experienced another relapse with a median RFS of 12.7 months. Overall survival (OS) was 82% at 4 years, with a significantly shorter OS in patients who relapsed within 1 year of initial treatment with vemurafenib. Higher cumulative doses or a longer duration of treatment did not lengthen the durability of response. All adverse events in the retreatment cohort were grade 1/2 except for 1 case of a grade 3 rash and 1 grade 3 fever/pneumonia. Our data suggest that vemurafenib retreatment is a safe and effective option for patients with R/R HCL.