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Evaluating the Potential Role of Ibrutinib in Patients With Hairy Cell Leukemia

Kerry Rogers, MD
Published Online:7:51 PM, Fri November 15, 2019

Kerry Rogers, MD, assistant professor at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, discusses the rationale for evaluating ibrutinib (Imbruvica) in patients with hairy cell leukemia in the phase II trial (NCT01841723).

Ibrutinib is an oral targeted inhibitor of BTK, which has been an important target in hematologic malignancies and the agent has been approved by the FDA in 4 different B-cell malignancies. Rogers notes that patients with hairy cell leukemia who do not respond to purine nucleoside analogs (PNAs) represent an unmet need. This subset of patients includes those who no longer benefit from PNA or are not benefiting as much as physicians would like to see.

Because many therapies that work in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and other B-cell cancers work for the treatment of patients with hairy cell leukemia, investigators sought out to evaluate ibrutinib in this patient population as well. Rogers says, CLL and hairy cell leukemia, in particular, have some overlap in terms of therapies that work for these patients. Ibrutinib is both available and potentially effective for patients who may not benefit from chemotherapy, which is why investigators chose this agent to be evaluated in hairy cell leukemia.
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