How will B-cell receptor targeted therapies change future CLL therapy?

Jeffrey A. Jones and John C. Byrd


For many years there has been considerable disassociation between the understood biology of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and the therapeutics utilized to treat this disease. With the introduction of the first targeted CD20 antibody rituximab and its addition to chemotherapy came the first observation that minimal residual disease negative (MRD-) complete remissions (CRs) could be obtained with dramatically improved progression free survival and overall survival. This advance was soon to be surpassed by introduction of therapeutics that target BCR signaling. Data coming forth show that BCR inhibiting agents are very active for the treatment of relapsed CLL, despite the lack of MRD- CR, with durability of response being considerably more impressive than previously observed with other agents not producing MRD- CRs. This perspective provides a view of where these agents may take us in the future as CLL therapy evolves with this exciting new class of drugs.

  • Submitted September 30, 2013.
  • Accepted December 29, 2013.