BTK inhibitor therapy is effective in patients with CLL resistant to venetoclax

Victor S. Lin, Thomas E. Lew, Sasanka M. Handunnetti, Piers Blombery, Tamia Nguyen, David A. Westerman, Bryone J. Kuss, Constantine S. Tam, Andrew W. Roberts, John F. Seymour, Mary Ann Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Highly active BTK inhibitors (BTKis) and the BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax have transformed the therapeutic landscape for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Results of prospective clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of venetoclax to salvage patients with disease progression on BTKis, but data on BTKi therapy after disease progression on venetoclax are limited, especially regarding durability of benefit. We retrospectively evaluated the records of 23 consecutive patients with relapsed/refractory CLL who received a BTKi (ibrutinib, n 5 21; zanubrutinib, n 5 2) after stopping venetoclax because of progressive disease. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and median overall survival after BTKi initiation were 34 months (range, <1 to 49) and 42 months (range, 2-49), respectively. Prior remission duration ‡24 months and attainment of complete remission or undetectable measurable residual disease on venetoclax were associated with longer PFS after BTKi salvage (P 5 .044 and P 5 .029, respectively). BTKi therapy achieved durable benefit for patients with the BCL2 Gly101Val venetoclax resistance mutation (estimated 24-month PFS, 69%). At a median survivor follow-up of 33 months (range, 2-53), 11 patients remained on BTKi and 12 had stopped therapy because of disease progression (n 5 8) or toxicity (n 5 4). Our findings indicate that BTKi therapy can provide durable CLL control after disease progression on venetoclax.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2266-2270
Number of pages5
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020


  • BTK inhibitor therapy
  • CLL resistant
  • venetoclax
  • chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Bruton's tyrosine kinase
  • B-cell lymphoma 2
  • BCL2
  • BTKis
  • BTKi therapy


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