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      Targeting BTK with Ibrutinib in Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

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          Abstract

          The treatment of relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has resulted in few durable remissions. Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK), an essential component of B-cell-receptor signaling, mediates interactions with the tumor microenvironment and promotes the survival and proliferation of CLL cells. We conducted a phase 1b-2 multicenter study to assess the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of ibrutinib (PCI-32765), a first-in-class, oral covalent inhibitor of BTK designed for treatment of B-cell cancers, in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma. A total of 85 patients, the majority of whom were considered to have high-risk disease, received ibrutinib orally once daily; 51 received 420 mg, and 34 received 840 mg. Toxic effects were predominantly grade 1 or 2 and included transient diarrhea, fatigue, and upper respiratory tract infection; thus, patients could receive extended treatment with minimal hematologic toxic effects. The overall response rate was the same in the group that received 420 mg and the group that received 840 mg (71%), and an additional 20% and 15% of patients in the respective groups had a partial response with lymphocytosis. The response was independent of clinical and genomic risk factors present before treatment, including advanced-stage disease, the number of previous therapies, and the 17p13.1 deletion. At 26 months, the estimated progression-free survival rate was 75% and the rate of overall survival was 83%. Ibrutinib was associated with a high frequency of durable remissions in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma, including patients with high-risk genetic lesions. (Funded by Pharmacyclics and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01105247.).

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          Bruton tyrosine kinase represents a promising therapeutic target for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and is effectively targeted by PCI-32765.

          B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling is aberrantly activated in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) is essential to BCR signaling and in knockout mouse models its mutation has a relatively B cell-specific phenotype. Herein, we demonstrate that BTK protein and mRNA are significantly over expressed in CLL compared with normal B cells. Although BTK is not always constitutively active in CLL cells, BCR or CD40 signaling is accompanied by effective activation of this pathway. Using the irreversible BTK inhibitor PCI-32765, we demonstrate modest apoptosis in CLL cells that is greater than that observed in normal B cells. No influence of PCI-32765 on T-cell survival is observed. Treatment of CD40 or BCR activated CLL cells with PCI-32765 results in inhibition of BTK tyrosine phosphorylation and also effectively abrogates downstream survival pathways activated by this kinase including ERK1/2, PI3K, and NF-κB. In addition, PCI-32765 inhibits activation-induced proliferation of CLL cells in vitro, and effectively blocks survival signals provided externally to CLL cells from the microenvironment including soluble factors (CD40L, BAFF, IL-6, IL-4, and TNF-α), fibronectin engagement, and stromal cell contact. Based on these collective data, future efforts targeting BTK with the irreversible inhibitor PCI-32765 in clinical trials of CLL patients is warranted.
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            The Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor PCI-32765 thwarts chronic lymphocytic leukemia cell survival and tissue homing in vitro and in vivo.

            B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling is a critical pathway in the pathogenesis of several B-cell malignancies, including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), and can be targeted by inhibitors of BCR-associated kinases, such as Bruton tyrosine kinase (Btk). PCI-32765, a selective, irreversible Btk inhibitor, is a novel, molecularly targeted agent for patients with B-cell malignancies, and is particularly active in patients with CLL. In this study, we analyzed the mechanism of action of PCI-32765 in CLL, using in vitro and in vivo models, and performed correlative studies on specimens from patients receiving therapy with PCI-32765. PCI-32765 significantly inhibited CLL cell survival, DNA synthesis, and migration in response to tissue homing chemokines (CXCL12, CXCL13). PCI-32765 also down-regulated secretion of BCR-dependent chemokines (CCL3, CCL4) by the CLL cells, both in vitro and in vivo. In an adoptive transfer TCL1 mouse model of CLL, PCI-32765 affected disease progression. In this model, PCI-32765 caused a transient early lymphocytosis, and profoundly inhibited CLL progression, as assessed by weight, development, and extent of hepatospenomegaly, and survival. Our data demonstrate that PCI-32765 effectively inhibits CLL cell migration and survival, possibly explaining some of the characteristic clinical activity of this new targeted agent.
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              Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-δ inhibitor CAL-101 shows promising preclinical activity in chronic lymphocytic leukemia by antagonizing intrinsic and extrinsic cellular survival signals.

              Targeted therapy with imatinib in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) prompted a new treatment paradigm. Unlike CML, chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) lacks an aberrant fusion protein kinase but instead displays increased phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) activity. To date, PI3K inhibitor development has been limited because of the requirement of this pathway for many essential cellular functions. Identification of the hematopoietic-selective isoform PI3K-δ unlocks a new therapeutic potential for B-cell malignancies. Herein, we demonstrate that PI3K has increased enzymatic activity and that PI3K-δ is expressed in CLL cells. A PI3K-δ selective inhibitor CAL-101 promoted apoptosis in primary CLL cells ex vivo in a dose- and time-dependent fashion that was independent of common prognostic markers. CAL-101-mediated cytotoxicity was caspase dependent and was not diminished by coculture on stromal cells. In addition, CAL-101 abrogated protection from spontaneous apoptosis induced by B cell-activating factors CD40L, TNF-α, and fibronectin. In contrast to malignant cells, CAL-101 does not promote apoptosis in normal T cells or natural killer cells, nor does it diminish antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity. However, CAL-101 did decrease activated T-cell production of various inflammatory and antiapoptotic cytokines. Collectively, these studies provide rationale for the clinical development of CAL-101 as a first-in-class targeted therapy for CLL and related B-cell lymphoproliferative disorders.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                July 04 2013
                July 04 2013
                : 369
                : 1
                : 32-42
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMoa1215637
                3772525
                23782158
                753aa283-68ea-429a-b4ca-817ca0765348
                © 2013
                History

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