B cell receptor inhibitor causes chronic lymphocytic leukemia remission

A new, targeted approach to treating chronic lymphocytic leukemia has produced durable remissions in a Phase I/II clinical trial for patients with relapsed or resistant disease, investigators report at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

"PCI-32765, one of a new class of experimental drugs called B cell receptor inhibitors, has shown impressive potential in this clinical trial for its effectiveness and particularly for its relatively minimal toxicity," said lead investigator Susan O'Brien, M.D., professor in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

According to the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results database, an estimated 14,570 people will receive a diagnosis of CLL in 2011 and about 4,380 patients will die of the disease.

Six-month progression free survival of 90-92 percent

Of 27 CLL patients treated at a dose of 420 milligrams daily, 70 percent had complete or partial remission at 10.2 months of median follow-up. Six-month progression-free survival was 92 percent. Patients received a median three prior treatments before entering the clinical trial.

At a higher dose of 840 mg, 44 percent of 34 patients achieved complete or partial remission at 6.5 months median follow-up, similar to the response rate of the lower-dose cohort at 6.2 months. Progression free survival at 6 months was 90 percent. had received a median of five prior treatments.

Overall, five patients (8 percent) of the 61 from both arms had progressive disease and 50 (82 percent) remained on the therapy.

Drug does not suppress blood cell production

CLL presently is treated with combination chemotherapies that can cause myelosuppression - inhibited bone marrow function leading to decreased production of . The resulting susceptibility to infection can be a problem for patients, O'Brien said.

"PCI-32765 is not myelosuppressive. The main side effect is mild diarrhea that is usually self-limiting," O'Brien said.

is caused by overproduction of defective B cell lymphocytes, white blood cells that fight infection by producing antibodies.

PCI-32765 is orally administered and inhibits the Burton's tyrosine kinas (BT) enzyme, which is central to B signaling. The drug causes programmed cell death and hinders cell migration and adhesion in malignant B cells.

A Phase III clinical trial is planned. The clinical trial was funded by Pharmacyclics, Inc., the drug's developer.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Leukemia vaccine tested in clinical trials

Dec 11, 2007

U.S. scientists say patients responding to a new peptide vaccine for leukemia enjoyed a median remission more than three times longer than non-responders.

Recommended for you

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

4 hours ago

(AP)—Stop sunbathing and using indoor tanning beds, the acting U.S. surgeon general warned in a report released Tuesday that cites an alarming 200 percent jump in deadly melanoma cases since 1973.

Penn team makes cancer glow to improve surgical outcomes

5 hours ago

The best way to cure most cases of cancer is to surgically remove the tumor. The Achilles heel of this approach, however, is that the surgeon may fail to extract the entire tumor, leading to a local recurrence.

Cancer: Tumors absorb sugar for mobility

17 hours ago

Cancer cells are gluttons. We have long known that they monopolize large amounts of sugar. More recently, it became clear that some tumor cells are also characterized by a series of features such as mobility or unlikeliness ...

User comments