New drugs that have been approved for CLL treatment in the past couple of years have drastically changed the way the disease is treated. CLL treatment in the past consisted of IV medication–meaning patients would be given a cocktail of up to three drugs intravenously. Because patients needed breaks to recover from the toxicity of the therapy, the drugs would often be given in cycles. Afterwards, a patient would be placed on observation to see if they required additional treatment.
The new oral medications for CLL treatment have improved survival rates. The downside is that patients have to commit to taking them every day for the rest of their lives which is difficult for a lot of people, says Dr. Nicole Lamanna, a leukemia specialist at Columbia University Medical Center. To try and solve this problem doctors are now combining some of these oral agents with even some gentler IV treatments. Dr. Lamanna says they are trying to see “if we can get people into a deeper remission. In other words, can we get rid of more of their leukemia, and then stop the oral therapy?” There is also exciting new research combining oral agents together without using any IV treatments.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is the most common leukemia in adults. It starts in the bone marrow with lymphocyte cells before moving into the blood. Learn more here:
For patients diagnosed with CLL, the go-to treatment option is usually some form of chemo-immunotherapy. But this is not an option for all patients.
Oral Medicine for Relapsed CLL: Venetoclax
Oral Medicine for CLL: Ibrutinib
Oral Medicine for Relapsed CLL