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Adverse Events Differ Among BTK Inhibitors in CLL

Jeff P. Sharman, MD
Published Online:6:23 PM, Fri February 14, 2020

Jeff P. Sharman, MD, director of research at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and medical director of hematology research for The US Oncology Network, discusses what differentiates acalabrutinib (Calquence) from other BTK inhibitors available in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

For the treatment of CLL, Sharman says there are 2 BTK inhibitors available, acalabrutinib and ibrutinib (Imbruvica). With acalabrutinib, patients experience less arthralgias compared with ibrutinib. He notes that the rates of bruising and bleeding, however, appear similar between the 2 agents.

The cardiac toxicities appear lower with acalabrutinib, including less hypertension and atrial fibrillation. However, physicians did not evaluate rates of atrial fibrillation as much when ibrutinib came out, so longer term follow-up is needed to determine the difference between this specific adverse event between the BTK inhibitors.

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