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Do You Have to Take Inhibitor Treatments Forever?

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Published on January 8, 2016

From our Ask the Expert series, Dr. Michael Keating of MD Anderson Cancer Center answers a common CLL question: “Do inhibitor treatments have to be a lifelong medicine?”  Listen as Dr. Keating describes his personal disinclination for what he refers to as “just controlling the disease” and how he anticipates immunotherapy strategies being used to eventually eradicate CLL.

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Transcript | Do You Have to Take Inhibitor Treatments Forever?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Many people are taking ibrutinib or Imbruvica, so we get this question, “Does it have to be a lifelong medicine?”       

Dr. Keating:

I think by and large, the model has been imatinib (Gleevec) in chronic myeloid leukemia. In patients who have taken it for a long period of time and as time goes on, a number of people take side effects. The compliance later on is not nearly as good with taking it on a regular basis. I personally don’t like just controlling the disease, because there’s no evidence that we can consistently get the point where we can find CLL cells with Imbruvica in previously treated patients. I think at the present time there are a number of strategies using immune therapies with checkpoint inhibitors, natural killer cells, CAR-T cells that may be able to take the small amount of disease left behind and eradicate it. May be able to come in at some point with venetoclax and get rid of the cells that are remaining behind. So my strategy is not to leave people on single agents for a long period of time.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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