Phase 1/2 study of venetoclax, a BCL-2 inhibitor, in Japanese patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia and small lymphocytic lymphoma


Int J Hematol. 2020 Oct 23. doi: 10.1007/s12185-020-03024-3. Online ahead of print.


Patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) have limited treatment options. Venetoclax is a potent BCL-2 inhibitor that induces apoptosis in CLL cells. This open-label, phase 1/2 study (NCT02265731) evaluated the safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of venetoclax in Japanese patients with R/R CLL/SLL. Patients enrolled in phase 1 received 400 mg/day venetoclax monotherapy. Patients enrolled in phase 2 received 400 mg/day

venetoclax, plus rituximab. Venetoclax was administered with a weekly stepwise ramp-up in doses. In phase 2, efficacy was evaluated by objective response rate (ORR). Twelve patients were enrolled, six in each arm. The most common grade ≥ 3 adverse events were neutropenia (83%), lymphopenia (67%), leukopenia (33%), and thrombocytopenia (17%). Patients receiving venetoclax monotherapy achieved an ORR of 100%, including a complete remission (CR) rate of 17%. Patients receiving combination therapy had an ORR of 67% and a CR rate of 50%. The venetoclax pharmacokinetics profile in Japanese patients was similar to that of Western patients. Venetoclax 400 mg/day monotherapy or in combination with rituximab was well-tolerated and induced promising responses in Japanese patients with R/R CLL/SLL. Although patient numbers were small, the safety profile was largely consistent with other Western studies. Clinical trial registration:; NCT02265731.