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EHA 2019 | Acalabrutinib in R/R CLL: ASCEND results show tolerability and efficacy

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Paolo Ghia

Paolo Ghia, MD, Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy, discusses the results of the ASCEND study (NCT02970318) that he presented as a late-breaking abstract at the 24th Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA) 2019, held in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Transcript (edited for clarity):

The ASCEND study is a Phase III study that compares for the first time monotherapy or a BTK inhibitor. The acalabrutinib versus the what if, kind of standard therapies in CLL, which is either

The ASCEND study is a Phase III study that compares for the first time monotherapy or a BTK inhibitor. The acalabrutinib versus the what if, kind of standard therapies in CLL, which is either idelalisib plus rituximab or bendamustine plus rituximab in the relapse refractory setting.

And the study that we presented here at EHA show that indeed acalabrutinib monotherapy is much more effective than these established therapies. So progression-free survival, the median progression-free survival was not reached after 16 months while instead the other two drugs, either two drugs had a median PFS around 16 months.

The interesting point that after one year, 88% of the patients did not progress while instead the 69 progressed when treated either with idelalisib plus rituximab, or bendamustine plus rituximab.

On top of this, as we expected, somehow acalabrutinib showed a very well-tolerated profile. So less adverse events. The typical adverse events that you would expect from a BTK inhibition were present but at a lower frequency. So we had a much less bleeding and atrial fibrillation.

So we believe that this is a therapy that hopefully in the future may become another option for the treatment of patients with CLL.

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