Publications by authors named "Constantine S Tam"

142 Publications

T-cell replete allogeneic stem cell transplant for mantle cell lymphoma achieves durable disease control, including against TP53-mutated disease.

Bone Marrow Transplant 2021 Jul 20. Epub 2021 Jul 20.

Department of Clinical Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41409-021-01418-3DOI Listing
July 2021

Bruton Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia: Beyond Ibrutinib.

Hematol Oncol Clin North Am 2021 Aug 28;35(4):761-773. Epub 2021 May 28.

Department of Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, 305 Grattan Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3065, Australia; Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, 780 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address:

Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors have indisputably transformed the treatment landscape of chronic lymphocytic leukemia, but require continuous therapy to maintain response. This places emphasis on their unique toxicity profile and potential loss of efficacy owing to resistance. Data from single-arm clinical studies are suggestive of comparable efficacy and favorable toxicity profiles of next-generation Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors. This is supported by the ASPEN study in Waldenstrom's macroglobulinemia, which convincingly demonstrated that zanubrutinib has a better toxicity profile than ibrutinib. Novel, reversible Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors are showing the potential to improve long-term efficacy by overcoming common mechanisms of resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hoc.2021.03.006DOI Listing
August 2021

Zanubrutinib for the treatment of relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2021 06;5(12):2577-2585

Concord Repatriation Hospital, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Zanubrutinib, a highly selective Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor, was evaluated in a phase 1/2 study in patients with various B-cell malignancies. In the subgroup of patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), zanubrutinib was administered as 160 mg twice daily (n = 14), 320 mg once daily (n = 18), or ≤160 mg total dose (n = 5). Herein, we report results for patients receiving a total daily dose of 320 mg (N = 32). Median study follow-up was 18.8 months. Eighteen patients discontinued treatment, 10 because of progressive disease and 8 because of adverse events (AEs); 1 AE (peripheral edema) was considered to be related to zanubrutinib treatment. The most common AEs were diarrhea (43.8%), contusion (37.5%), constipation (31.3%), and upper respiratory tract infection (31.3%). Infection was the most commonly reported AE of interest (18.8% of patients experienced grade ≥3 infection). At least 1 AE of grade ≥3 was reported in 59.4% of patients; grade ≥3 AEs that were reported in >2 patients were anemia (12.5%), pneumonia (9.4%), and myalgia (9.4%). Overall response rate was 84%, with 25% achieving a complete response. Median duration of response was 18.5 months. Median progression-free survival (PFS) was 21.1 months. Zanubrutinib was well tolerated and demonstrated activity in patients with R/R MCL. The trial is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02343120.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020004074DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8270663PMC
June 2021

COVID-19 vaccination in haematology patients: an Australian and New Zealand consensus position statement.

Intern Med J 2021 05;51(5):763-768

Clinical Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Australia and New Zealand have achieved excellent community control of COVID-19 infection. In light of the imminent COVID-19 vaccination roll out in both countries, representatives from the Haematology Society of Australia and New Zealand and infectious diseases specialists have collaborated on this consensus position statement regarding COVID-19 vaccination in patients with haematological disorders. It is our recommendation that patients with haematological malignancies, and some benign haematological disorders, should have expedited access to high-efficacy COVID-19 vaccines, given that these patients are at high risk of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 infection. Vaccination should not replace other public health measures in these patients, given that the effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccination, specifically in patients with haematological malignancies, is not known. Given the limited available data, prospective collection of safety and efficacy data of COVID-19 vaccination in this patient group is a priority.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imj.15247DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8206846PMC
May 2021

Hairy cell leukemia and COVID-19 adaptation of treatment guidelines.

Leukemia 2021 07 4;35(7):1864-1872. Epub 2021 May 4.

Haematology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Standard treatment options in classic HCL (cHCL) result in high response rates and near normal life expectancy. However, the disease itself and the recommended standard treatment are associated with profound and prolonged immunosuppression, increasing susceptibility to infections and the risk for a severe course of COVID-19. The Hairy Cell Leukemia Foundation (HCLF) has recently convened experts and discussed different clinical strategies for the management of these patients. The new recommendations adapt the 2017 consensus for the diagnosis and management with cHCL to the current COVID-19 pandemic. They underline the option of active surveillance in patients with low but stable blood counts, consider the use of targeted and non-immunosuppressive agents as first-line treatment for cHCL, and give recommendations on preventive measures against COVID-19.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41375-021-01257-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8093591PMC
July 2021

How I treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia after venetoclax.

Blood 2021 Apr 19. Epub 2021 Apr 19.

Department of Hematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Venetoclax-based regimens have expanded the therapeutic options for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), frequently achieving remissions with undetectable measurable residual disease (uMRD) and facilitating time-limited treatment without utilizing chemotherapy. Although response rates are high and durable disease control is common, longer-term follow-up of patients with relapsed and refractory (RR) disease, especially in the presence of TP53 aberrations, demonstrates frequent disease resistance and progression. Although the understanding of venetoclax resistance remains incomplete, progressive disease (PD) is typified by oligoclonal leukemic populations with distinct resistance mechanisms, including BCL2 mutations, upregulation of alternative BCL2 family proteins and genomic instability. Although most commonly observed in heavily pre-treated patients with disease refractory to fludarabine and harboring complex karyotype (CK), Richter transformation (RT) presents a distinct and challenging manifestation of venetoclax resistance. For patients with progressive CLL after venetoclax, treatment options include B-cell receptor pathway inhibitors (BCRis), allogeneic stem cell transplantation (SCT), chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, and venetoclax re-treatment for those with disease relapsing after time-limited therapy. However, data to inform clinical decisions for these patients are limited. We review the biology of venetoclax resistance and outline an approach to the common clinical scenarios encountered after venetoclax-based therapy that will increasingly confront practising clinicians.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020008502DOI Listing
April 2021

Pirtobrutinib in relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies (BRUIN): a phase 1/2 study.

Lancet 2021 Mar;397(10277):892-901

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.

Background: Covalent Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors are efficacious in multiple B-cell malignancies, but patients discontinue these agents due to resistance and intolerance. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of pirtobrutinib (working name; formerly known as LOXO-305), a highly selective, reversible BTK inhibitor, in these patients.

Methods: Patients with previously treated B-cell malignancies were enrolled in a first-in-human, multicentre, open-label, phase 1/2 trial of the BTK inhibitor pirtobrutinib. The primary endpoint was the maximum tolerated dose (phase 1) and overall response rate (ORR; phase 2). This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT03740529.

Findings: 323 patients were treated with pirtobrutinib across seven dose levels (25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, 150 mg, 200 mg, 250 mg, and 300 mg once per day) with linear dose-proportional exposures. No dose-limiting toxicities were observed and the maximum tolerated dose was not reached. The recommended phase 2 dose was 200 mg daily. Adverse events in at least 10% of 323 patients were fatigue (65 [20%]), diarrhoea (55 [17%]), and contusion (42 [13%]). The most common adverse event of grade 3 or higher was neutropenia (32 [10%]). There was no correlation between pirtobrutinib exposure and the frequency of grade 3 treatment-related adverse events. Grade 3 atrial fibrillation or flutter was not observed, and grade 3 haemorrhage was observed in one patient in the setting of mechanical trauma. Five (1%) patients discontinued treatment due to a treatment-related adverse event. In 121 efficacy evaluable patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) treated with a previous covalent BTK inhibitor (median previous lines of treatment 4), the ORR with pirtobrutinib was 62% (95% CI 53-71). The ORR was similar in CLL patients with previous covalent BTK inhibitor resistance (53 [67%] of 79), covalent BTK inhibitor intolerance (22 [52%] of 42), BTK C481-mutant (17 [71%] of 24) and BTK wild-type (43 [66%] of 65) disease. In 52 efficacy evaluable patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) previously treated with covalent BTK inhibitors, the ORR was 52% (95% CI 38-66). Of 117 patients with CLL, SLL, or MCL who responded, all but eight remain progression-free to date.

Interpretation: Pirtobrutinib was safe and active in multiple B-cell malignancies, including patients previously treated with covalent BTK inhibitors. Pirtobrutinib might address a growing unmet need for alternative therapies for these patients.

Funding: Loxo Oncology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00224-5DOI Listing
March 2021

Zanubrutinib for the treatment of Waldenström Macroglobulinemia.

Expert Rev Hematol 2020 12 9;13(12):1303-1310. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre , Melbourne, Australia.

: Waldenström Macroglobulinaemia (WM) is a heterogeneous, incurable condition which often relapses after chemoimmunotherapy. Novel therapies such as Bruton tyrosine-kinase (BTK) inhibitors have shown to be efficacious in treating WM but with an established, significant toxicity profile seen in the first-generation inhibitor Ibrutinib. Zanubrutinib is a selective, potent BTK inhibitor with the potential to reduce toxicity and improve efficacy. : This review examines the activity of Zanubrutinib in treating treatment-naïve and relapsed refractory WM and it's toxicity profile when compared to Ibrutinib. Outcomes from the AU003 and ASPEN studies will be examined in detail including a particular focus on MYD88 and CXCR4 disease. Strengths and weaknesses of this treatment approach will be highlighted and future directions for research will be identified. : Zanubrutinib induces deeper responses and have greater activity in MYD88 and CXCR4 WM. Zanubrutinib also has a favorable toxicity profile when compared to Ibrutinib. This may potentially translate to lower discontinuation rates, improved quality of life and ultimately longer progression-free survival in patients with WM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17474086.2020.1851184DOI Listing
December 2020

Zanubrutinib for the treatment of MYD88 wild-type Waldenström macroglobulinemia: a substudy of the phase 3 ASPEN trial.

Blood Adv 2020 12;4(23):6009-6018

BeiGene USA, Inc., San Mateo, CA.

Patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) lacking activating mutations in the MYD88 gene (MYD88WT) have demonstrated relatively poor outcomes to ibrutinib monotherapy, with no major responses reported in a phase 2 pivotal study. Zanubrutinib is a novel, selective Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor designed to maximize BTK occupancy and minimize off-target activity. The ASPEN study consisted of a randomized comparison of zanubrutinib and ibrutinib efficacy and safety in patients with WM who have the MYD88 mutation, as well as a separate cohort of patients without MYD88 mutation (MYD88WT) or with unknown mutational status who received zanubrutinib. Results from the latter single-arm cohort are reported herein. Efficacy endpoints included overall, major and complete (CR) or very good partial response (VGPR) rates, progression-free survival (PFS), duration of response (DOR), and overall survival (OS). Twenty-eight patients (23 relapsed/refractory; 5 treatment-naïve) were enrolled, including 26 with centrally confirmed MYD88WT disease and 2 with unknown MYD88 mutational status. At a median follow-up of 17.9 months, 7 of 26 MYD88WT patients (27%) had achieved a VGPR and 50% a major response (partial response or better); there were no CRs. At 18 months, the estimated PFS and OS rates were 68% and 88%, respectively, while the median DOR had not been reached. Two patients discontinued zanubrutinib due to adverse events. Treatment-emergent hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and major hemorrhages were reported in 3, 1 and 2 patients (including 1 concurrent with enoxaparin therapy), respectively. Results of this substudy demonstrate that zanubrutinib monotherapy can induce high quality responses in patients with MYD88WT WM. This trial is registered on www.clinicaltrials.gov as NCT #03053440.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020003010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7724905PMC
December 2020

Chronic lymphoproliferative disorders and secondary cancers in the era of purine analogues and beyond.

Leuk Lymphoma 2021 04 22;62(4):771-778. Epub 2020 Nov 22.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

The low grade chronic lymphoproliferative disorders include chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Waldenstroms macroglobulinemia, follicular lymphoma and hairy cell leukemia. Traditionally considered incurable, these disorders have been associated with a risk of haematological and solid organ malignancies secondary to both the underlying disease and the associated treatment. The introduction of purine analogues into treatment paradigms has seen increased rates of therapy related myelodysplasia reported and it remains unclear yet on the impact the targeted novel therapies play in the development of secondary cancers. We review the rates of secondary malignancy in the chronic lymphoproliferative disorders with a particular focus on the role of the purine analogues in the development of therapy related MDS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2020.1849682DOI Listing
April 2021

Zanubrutinib monotherapy for patients with treatment naïve chronic lymphocytic leukemia and 17p deletion.

Haematologica 2020 10 13;Online ahead of print. Epub 2020 Oct 13.

Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA.

Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma whose tumors carry deletion of chromosome 17p13.1 [del(17p)] have an unfavorable prognosis and respond poorly to standard chemoimmunotherapy. Zanubrutinib is a selective next-generation Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of zanubrutinib 160 mg twice daily in treatment-naïve patients with del(17p) disease enrolled in a dedicated, nonrandomized cohort (Arm C) of the phase 3 SEQUOIA trial. A total of 109 patients (median age, 70 years; range, 42 - 86) with centrally confirmed del(17p) were enrolled and treated. After a median of 18.2 months (range, 5.0 - 26.3), seven patients had discontinued study treatment due to progressive disease, four due to an adverse event, and one due to withdrawal of consent. The overall response rate was 94.5% with 3.7% of patients achieving complete response with or without incomplete hematologic recovery. The estimated 18-month progression-free survival rate was 88.6% (95% CI, 79.0 - 94.0) and the estimated 18-month overall survival rate was 95.1% (95% CI, 88.4 - 98.0). Most common all-grade adverse events included contusion (20.2%), upper respiratory tract infection (19.3%), neutropenia/neutrophil count decreased (17.4%), and diarrhea (16.5%). Grade ≥ 3 adverse events were reported in 53 patients (48.6%), most commonly neutropenia (12.9%) and pneumonia (3.7%). An adverse event of atrial fibrillation was reported in three patients (2.8%). Zanubrutinib was active and well tolerated in this large, prospectively enrolled treatment cohort of previously untreated patients with del(17p) chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. This trial was registered at ClinicalTrials.gov as #NCT03336333.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2020.259432DOI Listing
October 2020

Immune recovery in patients with mantle cell lymphoma receiving long-term ibrutinib and venetoclax combination therapy.

Blood Adv 2020 10;4(19):4849-4859

ACRF Translational Research Laboratory, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Combination venetoclax plus ibrutinib for the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) has demonstrated efficacy in the relapsed or refractory setting; however, the long-term impact on patient immunology is unknown. In this study, changes in immune subsets of MCL patients treated with combination venetoclax and ibrutinib were assessed over a 4-year period. Multiparameter flow cytometry of peripheral blood mononuclear cells showed that ≥12 months of treatment resulted in alterations in the proportions of multiple immune subsets, most notably CD4+ and CD8+ effector and central memory T cells and natural killer cells, and normalization of T-cell cytokine production in response to T-cell receptor stimulation. Gene expression analysis identified upregulation of multiple myeloid genes (including S100 and cathepsin family members) and inflammatory pathways over 12 months. Four patients with deep responses stopped study drugs, resulting in restoration of normal immune subsets for all study parameters except myeloid gene/pathway expression, suggesting long-term combination venetoclax and ibrutinib irreversibly affects this population. Our findings demonstrate that long-term combination therapy is associated with immune recovery in MCL, which may allow responses to subsequent immunotherapies and suggests that this targeted therapy results in beneficial impacts on immunological recovery. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02471391.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002810DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556128PMC
October 2020

Zanubrutinib (BGB-3111) plus obinutuzumab in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and follicular lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2020 10;4(19):4802-4811

Sarah Cannon Research Institute, Tennessee Oncology, PLLC, Nashville, TN.

Zanubrutinib (BGB-3111) is a next-generation Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor designed to be more selective with fewer off-target effects. We conducted a phase 1 study to assess the safety of its combination with obinutuzumab and evaluate early efficacy in 81 patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)/small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) or relapsed/refractory (R/R) follicular lymphoma (FL). In this phase 1b study, zanubrutinib was tolerable at 160 mg twice daily or 320 mg once daily combined with IV obinutuzumab in patients with CLL/SLL (n = 45) and FL (n = 36). Common adverse events (AEs) included upper respiratory tract infection (51%; n = 23), neutropenia (44%; n = 20), contusion (33%; n = 15), cough, diarrhea, or fatigue (27%; n = 12 each), and pyrexia (22%; n = 10) in CLL/SLL patients and upper respiratory tract infection (39%; n = 14), contusion (28%; n = 10), fatigue (25%; n = 9), and cough (22%; n = 8) in FL patients. Neutropenia was the most common grade 3/4 AE (CLL/SLL, 31% [n = 14]; FL, 14% [n = 5]). Five patients required temporary dose reductions, and 5 discontinued the study drug because of AEs. Overall response rate (ORR) was 100% (n = 20) in treatment-naïve CLL patients and 92% (n = 23) in R/R CLL patients. ORR in 36 R/R FL patients was 72% (n = 26), with 14 complete and 12 partial responses. Median follow-up was 29 months (range, 8-37) for CLL patients and 20 months (range, 2-37) for FL patients. Zanubrutinib and obinutuzumab combination therapy was generally well tolerated. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02569476.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2020002183DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556127PMC
October 2020

A Phase III study of zanubrutinib plus rituximab versus bendamustine plus rituximab in transplant-ineligible, untreated mantle cell lymphoma.

Future Oncol 2021 Jan 28;17(3):255-262. Epub 2020 Sep 28.

Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Nantes, 44093 Nantes, France.

Mantle cell lymphoma is an aggressive B-cell malignancy. Current frontline chemoimmunotherapies produce high response rates but relapse is inevitable. Furthermore, the elderly and those with comorbidities are precluded from standard regimens and stem cell transplant, leaving them with limited options. Targeted therapies, including Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors, are an effective treatment strategy in mantle cell lymphoma. Zanubrutinib is a potent next-generation Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has demonstrated complete and sustained Bruton tyrosine kinase occupancy, minimal off-target effects and favorable pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic properties. Described herein is an ongoing Phase III study comparing the efficacy and safety of zanubrutinib plus rituximab followed by zanubrutinib monotherapy versus bendamustine plus rituximab followed by observation in transplant-ineligible patients with previously untreated mantle cell lymphoma. Clinical Trial Registration: NCT04002297 (ClinicalTrials.gov).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2020-0794DOI Listing
January 2021

Efficacy of bendamustine and rituximab in unfit patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Indirect comparison with ibrutinib in a real-world setting. A GIMEMA-ERIC and US study.

Cancer Med 2020 11 24;9(22):8468-8479. Epub 2020 Sep 24.

Hematology, Niguarda Cancer Center, ASST Grande Ospedale Metropolitano Niguarda, Milan, Italy.

Limited information is available on the efficacy of front-line bendamustine and rituximab (BR) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with reduced renal function or coexisting conditions. We therefore analyzed a cohort of real-world patients and performed a matched adjusted indirect comparison with a cohort of patients treated with ibrutinib. One hundred and fifty-seven patients with creatinine clearance (CrCl) <70 mL/min and/or CIRS score >6 were treated with BR. The median age was 72 years; 69% of patients had ≥2 comorbidities and the median CrCl was 59.8 mL/min. 17.6% of patients carried TP53 disruption. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 45 months; TP53 disruption was associated with a shorter PFS (P = 0.05). The overall survival (OS) at 12, 24, and 36 months was 96.2%, 90.1%, and 79.5%, respectively. TP53 disruption was associated with an increased risk of death (P = 0.01). Data on 162 patients ≥65 years treated with ibrutinib were analyzed and compared with 165 patients ≥65 years treated with BR. Factors predicting for a longer PFS at multivariable analysis in the total patient population treated with BR and ibrutinib were age (HR 1.06, 95% CI 1.02-1.10, P < 0.01) and treatment with ibrutinib (HR 0.55, 95% CI 0.33-0.93, P = 0.03). In a post hoc analysis of patients in advanced stage, a significant PFS advantage was observed in patient who had received ibrutinib (P = 0.03), who showed a trend for OS advantage (P = 0.08). We arrived at the following conclusions: (a) BR is a relatively effective first-line regimen in a real-world population of unfit patients without TP53 disruption, (b) ibrutinib provided longer disease control than BR in patients with advanced disease stage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cam4.3470DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7666748PMC
November 2020

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy for haematological malignancies.

Med J Aust 2020 11 20;213(9):404-406.e1. Epub 2020 Sep 20.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50783DOI Listing
November 2020

The Impact of Age on Survival in CLL Patients Receiving Ibrutinib as Initial Therapy.

Blood Lymphat Cancer 2020 24;10:1-5. Epub 2020 Aug 24.

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA, USA.

Introduction: Recent randomized trials have demonstrated the efficacy of ibrutinib-based therapy in the treatment of patients with CLL. In Alliance A041202, a higher than expected number of unexplained deaths were reported with front-line ibrutinib in a patient population aged at least 65 years compared to ECOG 1912, which included patients up to 70 years of age.

Methods: Therefore, we conducted a retrospective analysis to investigate whether ibrutinib was associated with a greater mortality in older patients outside of a clinical trial setting. This multicenter analysis was performed by investigators at 20 academic and community practices.

Results: Amongst the 391 patients included, there was no correlation between age and response rate, PFS, or OS. However, there was a trend to higher rate of deaths in patients >65-years-old (8.7% vs 3.8%, p=0.097), with an increased number of early deaths (13 vs 4, p=0.3).

Conclusion: These data suggest greater intolerance, and possibly mortality, with ibrutinib in an older population. Patients should be educated regarding the potential complications related to ibrutinib and symptoms of concern to report.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/BLCTT.S262592DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473982PMC
August 2020

Immune impacts of Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitors in chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients: are we closer to a holy grail?

Leuk Lymphoma 2020 10 8;61(10):2283-2285. Epub 2020 Sep 8.

Clinical Haematology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2020.1811865DOI Listing
October 2020

A randomized phase 3 trial of zanubrutinib vs ibrutinib in symptomatic Waldenström macroglobulinemia: the ASPEN study.

Blood 2020 10;136(18):2038-2050

BeiGene USA, Inc, San Mateo, CA; and.

Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibition is an effective treatment approach for patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM). The phase 3 ASPEN study compared the efficacy and safety of ibrutinib, a first-generation BTK inhibitor, with zanubrutinib, a novel highly selective BTK inhibitor, in patients with WM. Patients with MYD88L265P disease were randomly assigned 1:1 to treatment with ibrutinib or zanubrutinib. The primary end point was the proportion of patients achieving a complete response (CR) or a very good partial response (VGPR) by independent review. Key secondary end points included major response rate (MRR), progression-free survival (PFS), duration of response (DOR), disease burden, and safety. A total of 201 patients were randomized, and 199 received ≥1 dose of study treatment. No patient achieved a CR. Twenty-nine (28%) zanubrutinib patients and 19 (19%) ibrutinib patients achieved a VGPR, a nonstatistically significant difference (P = .09). MRRs were 77% and 78%, respectively. Median DOR and PFS were not reached; 84% and 85% of ibrutinib and zanubrutinib patients were progression free at 18 months. Atrial fibrillation, contusion, diarrhea, peripheral edema, hemorrhage, muscle spasms, and pneumonia, as well as adverse events leading to treatment discontinuation, were less common among zanubrutinib recipients. Incidence of neutropenia was higher with zanubrutinib, although grade ≥3 infection rates were similar in both arms (1.2 and 1.1 events per 100 person-months). These results demonstrate that zanubrutinib and ibrutinib are highly effective in the treatment of WM, but zanubrutinib treatment was associated with a trend toward better response quality and less toxicity, particularly cardiovascular toxicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006844DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596850PMC
October 2020

Zanubrutinib for the treatment of patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia: 3 years of follow-up.

Blood 2020 10;136(18):2027-2037

Haematology Department, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Inhibitors of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) have established therapeutic activity in patients with Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM). Zanubrutinib, a potent and selective BTK inhibitor, was evaluated in a phase 1/2 study in patients with WM who were either treatment-naïve (TN) or had relapsed/refractory (R/R) disease. Patients had disease requiring treatment per International Workshop on Waldenström Macroglobulinemia (IWWM) criteria. Treatment was 160 mg of oral zanubrutinib twice daily (n = 50) or 320 mg once daily (n = 23). Efficacy endpoints included overall response rate (ORR) and very good partial response/complete response (VGPR/CR) rates per IWWM-6 criteria (with modification of VGPR definition published previously). Between September 2014 and March 2018, 77 patients (24 TN and 53 R/R) began treatment. At a median follow-up of 36.0 months for patients with R/R disease and 23.5 months for TN, 72.7% remained on treatment. Reasons for treatment discontinuation included any adverse events in 13.0% of patients (1 treatment related), disease progression (10.4%), and other (3.9%). The ORR was 95.9%, and the VGPR/CR rate was 45.2%, which increased over time: 20.5% at 6 months, 32.9% at 12 months, and 43.8% at 24 months. Estimated 3-year progression-free survival rate was 80.5%, and overall survival rate was 84.8%. Adverse events of interest included contusion (32.5%, all grade 1), neutropenia (18.2%), major hemorrhage (3.9%), atrial fibrillation/flutter (5.2%), and grade 3 diarrhea (2.6%). Long-term treatment with single-agent zanubrutinib resulted in deep and durable responses in some patients with WM. The safety profile of long-term zanubrutinib therapy in these patients was acceptable. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02343120.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020006449DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7596846PMC
October 2020

An evaluation of Ibrutinib for the treatment of Waldenstrom macroglobulinaemia.

Expert Opin Pharmacother 2020 Sep 30;21(13):1555-1564. Epub 2020 Jun 30.

Department of Haematology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre , Melbourne, Australia.

Introduction: Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia (WM) is a heterogenous condition which poses a challenge to manage. Novel therapies such as Ibrutinib have been shown to be efficacious in treating WM. The landscape of Ibrutinib's role in treating WM is everchanging with new discoveries in disease genomics and evolution together as well as through new findings in clinical trials.

Areas Covered: A systematic literature review was carried out using two databases 'Medline' and 'Embase' from 2009 to July 2019. Keywords used included 'Ibrutinib,' 'Waldenstrom Macroglobulinaemia,' and 'lymphoma.' There were four major clinical trials identified primarily describing outcomes of Ibrutinib in managing WM which this paper evaluates in detail. The authors present evidence of the role of Ibrutinib in the management of specific complications associated with WM. They also explore the recently discovered genomics of the disease affecting response to therapy.

Expert Opinion: The evidence for the use of Ibrutinib as a treatment option for relapsed/refractory WM is compelling in MYD88 mutated WM with the response and survival rates potentially better than conventional salvage chemoimmunotherapy. There is also a case for it to be used in the frontline setting in patients unfit for conventional frontline chemoimmunotherapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14656566.2020.1770727DOI Listing
September 2020

A predictive tool for early-stage CLL.

Blood 2020 05;135(21):1820-1821

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre; University of Melbourne; The Royal Melbourne Hospital.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020005426DOI Listing
May 2020

Australian and New Zealand consensus statement on the management of lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and myeloma during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Intern Med J 2020 06 15;50(6):667-679. Epub 2020 May 15.

Department of Infectious Diseases, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a unique challenge to the care of patients with haematological malignancies. Viral pneumonia is known to cause disproportionately severe disease in patients with cancer, and patients with lymphoma, myeloma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia are likely to be at particular risk of severe disease related to COVID-19. This statement has been developed by consensus among authors from Australia and New Zealand. We aim to provide supportive guidance to clinicians making individual patient decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular during periods that access to healthcare resources may be limited. General recommendations include those to minimise patient exposure to COVID-19, including the use of telehealth, avoidance of non-essential visits and minimisation of time spent by patients in infusion suites and other clinical areas. This statement also provides recommendations where appropriate in assessing indications for therapy, reducing therapy-associated immunosuppression and reducing healthcare utilisation in patients with specific haematological malignancies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specific decisions regarding therapy of haematological malignancies will need to be individualised, based on disease risk, risks of immunosuppression, rates of community transmission of COVID-19 and available local healthcare resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imj.14859DOI Listing
June 2020

Management of Ibrutinib Toxicities: a Practical Guide.

Curr Hematol Malig Rep 2020 06;15(3):177-186

Department of Haematology, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.

Purpose Of Review: Ibrutinib is a first-in-class, highly potent Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor which has become standard of care for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and other lymphoproliferative disorders. It requires indefinite administration which places emphasis on toxicity and long-term tolerance.

Recent Findings: Extensive use of ibrutinib in studies and clinical practice has better defined its full toxicity profile which has made its use more challenging than initially foreseen. In particular, dysrhythmias, bleeding, infections and constitutional symptoms have been reported and can result in dose reduction or discontinuation of ibrutinib. Herein, we review the common as well as rare but important toxicities and discuss approach and management on a practical level. We also highlight that patients should be regularly monitored for adverse events and proactively treated to minimise side effects and avoid disruption.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11899-020-00576-3DOI Listing
June 2020

Detection of an IGH- fusion in a patient with BRAF Val600Glu negative hairy cell leukemia.

Leuk Lymphoma 2020 08 22;61(8):2024-2026. Epub 2020 Apr 22.

Department of Pathology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, Australia.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10428194.2020.1753045DOI Listing
August 2020

BTK inhibitor therapy is effective in patients with CLL resistant to venetoclax.

Blood 2020 06;135(25):2266-2270

Department of Clinical Haematology, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Highly active BTK inhibitors (BTKis) and the BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax have transformed the therapeutic landscape for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Results of prospective clinical trials demonstrate the efficacy of venetoclax to salvage patients with disease progression on BTKis, but data on BTKi therapy after disease progression on venetoclax are limited, especially regarding durability of benefit. We retrospectively evaluated the records of 23 consecutive patients with relapsed/refractory CLL who received a BTKi (ibrutinib, n = 21; zanubrutinib, n = 2) after stopping venetoclax because of progressive disease. Median progression-free survival (PFS) and median overall survival after BTKi initiation were 34 months (range, <1 to 49) and 42 months (range, 2-49), respectively. Prior remission duration ≥24 months and attainment of complete remission or undetectable measurable residual disease on venetoclax were associated with longer PFS after BTKi salvage (P = .044 and P = .029, respectively). BTKi therapy achieved durable benefit for patients with the BCL2 Gly101Val venetoclax resistance mutation (estimated 24-month PFS, 69%). At a median survivor follow-up of 33 months (range, 2-53), 11 patients remained on BTKi and 12 had stopped therapy because of disease progression (n = 8) or toxicity (n = 4). Our findings indicate that BTKi therapy can provide durable CLL control after disease progression on venetoclax.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2020004782DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7316215PMC
June 2020

ALPINE: zanubrutinib versus ibrutinib in relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma.

Future Oncol 2020 Apr 24;16(10):517-523. Epub 2020 Mar 24.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St Vincent's Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia and University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.

Treatment standards for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have been transformed with the advent of effective inhibitors of B-cell receptor signaling such as ibrutinib - a first-in-class inhibitor of BTK. Off-target kinase inhibitions by ibrutinib are thought to contribute to its adverse events. Zanubrutinib is a next-generation BTK inhibitor with minimal off-target effects, sustained BTK occupancy in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and lymph nodes from patients with B-cell malignancies and promising responses in patients with CLL. Described here is a head-to-head Phase III study comparing the efficacy and safety of zanubrutinib with those of ibrutinib in patients with CLL/small lymphocytic lymphoma in the relapsed/refractory setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2217/fon-2019-0844DOI Listing
April 2020

Coding and noncoding drivers of mantle cell lymphoma identified through exome and genome sequencing.

Blood 2020 07;136(5):572-584

Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an uncommon B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that is incurable with standard therapies. The genetic drivers of this cancer have not been firmly established, and the features that contribute to differences in clinical course remain limited. To extend our understanding of the biological pathways involved in this malignancy, we performed a large-scale genomic analysis of MCL using data from 51 exomes and 34 genomes alongside previously published exome cohorts. To confirm our findings, we resequenced the genes identified in the exome cohort in 191 MCL tumors, each having clinical follow-up data. We confirmed the prognostic association of TP53 and NOTCH1 mutations. Our sequencing revealed novel recurrent noncoding mutations surrounding a single exon of the HNRNPH1gene. In RNA-seq data from 103 of these cases, MCL tumors with these mutations had a distinct imbalance of HNRNPH1 isoforms. This altered splicing of HNRNPH1 was associated with inferior outcomes in MCL and showed a significant increase in protein expression by immunohistochemistry. We describe a functional role for these recurrent noncoding mutations in disrupting an autoregulatory feedback mechanism, thereby deregulating HNRNPH1 protein expression. Taken together, these data strongly imply a role for aberrant regulation of messenger RNA processing in MCL pathobiology.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood.2019002385DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7440974PMC
July 2020

Patient-reported long-term quality of life after tisagenlecleucel in relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

Blood Adv 2020 02;4(4):629-637

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, St Vincent's Hospital and University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

The JULIET phase 2 trial evaluated a single infusion of tisagenlecleucel in adult patients with relapsed/refractory (r/r) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). The objective of the current analysis was to evaluate patient-reported health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with a median follow-up of 19.3 months among patients infused with a single dose of tisagenlecleucel. Patients enrolled were ≥18 years of age with r/r DLBCL after ≥2 lines of therapy and had either undergone a failed autologous stem cell transplant or were ineligible for the procedure. Two validated HRQoL instruments, Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Lymphoma (FACT-Lym) and Short Form-36 (SF-36) Health Survey, were used to measure HRQoL at baseline and months 3, 6, 12, and 18. At data cutoff (21 May 2018), 115 patients had received tisagenlecleucel infusion. Among the 99 patients evaluated, overall response rate was 54%, and 40% of patients achieved complete response (CR). Initially, 108 patients completed the HRQoL assessments at baseline, including 57 patients who eventually achieved CR or partial response (PR). Further, 30 and 21 patients in clinical response who completed assessments at baseline also completed assessments at months 12 and 18, respectively. Patients who achieved CR or PR sustained HRQoL improvement in all FACT scores at all time points. SF-36 instruments showed improvement above the minimal clinically important differences on 5 of 8 subscales. Long-term follow-up in the phase 2 JULIET study demonstrated that patients with r/r DLBCL who respond to tisagenlecleucel therapy had sustained, clinically meaningful improvements in HRQoL. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02445248.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001026DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7042998PMC
February 2020

Tisagenlecleucel cellular kinetics, dose, and immunogenicity in relation to clinical factors in relapsed/refractory DLBCL.

Blood Adv 2020 02;4(3):560-572

Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Center, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, Atlanta, GA.

The anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy tisagenlecleucel was evaluated in the global, phase 2 JULIET study in adult patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). We correlated tisagenlecleucel cellular kinetics with clinical/product parameters in 111 patients treated in JULIET. Tisagenlecleucel persistence in responders and nonresponders, respectively, was demonstrated for 554 and 400 days maximum by flow cytometry and for 693 and 374 days maximum by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). No relationships were identified between cellular kinetics (qPCR) and product characteristics, intrinsic/extrinsic factors, dose, or immunogenicity. Most patients with 3-month response had detectable transgene at time of response and continued persistence for ≥6 months. Expansion (maximal expansion of transgene/CAR-positive T-cell levels in vivo postinfusion [Cmax]) was potentially associated with response duration but this did not reach statistical significance (hazard ratio for a twofold increase in Cmax, 0.79; 95% confidence interval, 0.61-1.01). Tisagenlecleucel expansion was associated with cytokine-release syndrome (CRS) severity and tocilizumab use; no relationships were observed with neurologic events. Transgene levels were associated with B-cell levels. Dose was associated with CRS severity, but this was not statistically significant after adjusting for baseline tumor burden. In contrast to the results from B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia, similar exposure was observed in DLBCL in this study regardless of response and expansion was lower in DLBCL than B-ALL, likely from differences in cancer location and/or T-cell intrinsic factors. Relationships between expansion and CRS severity, and lack of relationships between dose and exposure, were similar between DLBCL and B-ALL. Tisagenlecleucel cellular kinetics in adult relapsed/refractory DLBCL improve current understanding of in vivo expansion and its relationships with safety/efficacy endpoints. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02445248.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000525DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7013261PMC
February 2020
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