A 73-Year-Old Woman With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia - Episode 5

Ongoing Challenges and Unmet Needs in CLL

A thought leader in hematology oncology highlights therapies currently in development for the management of CLL and provides closing remarks on unmet needs regarding patients who are double-refractory.

Jeff Sharman, MD: In terms of the ongoing challenges for treating patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia, there are some really encouraging developments on the horizon. We’re seeing novel BTK [Bruton tyrosine kinase] inhibitors that do not bind to cysteine 481. Consequently, these novel BTK inhibitors may work even after the covalent inhibitors have stopped working. The medication pirtobrutinib, as well as the molecule ArQule being developed by Merck & Co, Inc,may work quite well in this setting. We’re also seeing developments in chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for these patients.

There’s an unmet medical need for patients who are double-refractory, or patients who’ve had both a BTK and a BCL2 inhibitor. As highlighted by this case, not everybody is an easy candidate for a venetoclax [Venclexta]–based therapy. That third- or second-line BCL2-challenged patient represents an unmet medical need, and 1 where we’re going to see additional developments in the near future.

This transcript has been edited for clarity.