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    Venetoclax, an orally bioavailable inhibitor of BCL-2, was approved in 2016 by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients with 17p deletion [del(17p)], who have received at least one prior therapy. Areas covered: We focus on the mechanism of action of venetoclax and on the clinical trial data that led to the approval of venetoclax for CLL patients. We also review the studies in which this drug has being explored in combination with other anti-CLL drugs. Expert opinion: Data from early clinical trials have shown that venetoclax, as a single agent, is highly effective for relapsed/refractory CLL patients, including those cases with high-risk features. Furthermore, venetoclax seems to be an appropriate option for patients who progress on B-cell receptor (BCR) pathway kinase inhibitors. Venetoclax is also safe, with the most common serious adverse events being neutropenia. The risk of tumor lysis syndrome (TLS) can be reduced by a slow dose ramp-up, careful monitoring, and adequate prophylaxis. Ongoing trials will further clarify the safety and efficacy of venetoclax in combination with other drugs in both relapsed/refractory and untreated CLL patients.

    Citation

    Massimo Gentile, Annamaria Petrungaro, Giuseppina Uccello, Ernesto Vigna, Anna Grazia Recchia, Nadia Caruso, Sabrina Bossio, Laura De Stefano, Angela Palummo, Francesca Storino, Massimo Martino, Fortunato Morabito. Venetoclax for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Expert opinion on investigational drugs. 2017 Nov;26(11):1307-1316

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    PMID: 28972395

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