Although agents targeting B-cell receptor signaling have provided practice-changing results in relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), they require prolonged administration and provide incomplete responses. Given synergistic preclinical activity with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase delta and spleen tyrosine kinase inhibition, this phase 2 study evaluated the safety and efficacy of the combination of idelalisib and entospletinib. Eligible patients with relapsed or refractory CLL or non-Hodgkin lymphoma underwent intrapatient dose escalation with each agent. With a median treatment exposure of 10 weeks, 60% and 36% of patients with CLL or follicular lymphoma, respectively, achieved objective responses. However, the study was terminated early due to treatment-emergent pneumonitis in 18% of patients (severe in 11 of 12 cases). Although most patients recovered with supportive measures and systemic steroids, 2 fatalities occurred and were attributed to treatment-emergent pneumonitis. Increases of interferon γ and interleukins 6, 7, and 8 occurred over time in patients who developed pneumonitis. Future studies of novel combinations should employ conservative designs that incorporate pharmacodynamics/biomarker monitoring. These investigations should also prospectively evaluate plasma cytokine/chemokine levels in an attempt to validate biomarkers predictive of response and toxicity. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01796470.
Commentary added by thassodotcom: This clinical study is representative for other studies that together have led European, German, and Swiss registration authorities to rethink and strengthen the drug labels associated with Idelalisib (Zydelig) for already approved indications. These studies will certainly impact on the registration process for Idelalisib (Zydelig) for new indications or in new combination therapies. It remains to be shown if the risk/benefit ratio of Idelalisib (Zydelig) will remain positive under these newly targeted application scenarios.