Treatment with ruxolitinib may significantly improve disease-related symptoms and quality of life in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who do not require systemic therapy for their disease, according to a study published in the journal The Lancet.1

Disease-related symptoms negatively impact the quality of life of patients with CLL not receiving systemic therapy. Because available therapies are not specifically designed to control disease-related symptoms, researchers sought to evaluate whether ruxolitinib, a JAK2 inhibitor that reduces symptoms in patients with myelofibrosis, would improve disease-related symptoms in patients with CLL.

For the open-label, single-arm, phase 2 trial ( Identifier: NCT02131584), investigators enrolled 41 symptomatic patients with CLL receiving care at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, who did not require systemic therapy. All participants received ruxolitinib 10 mg orally twice daily.

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Before treatment and at 3 months, researchers assessed symptom control using the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI), the CLL module of the MD Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI), and symptom-associated interference in daily activities.

Among the 25 treatment-naïve and 16 previously treated patients, results showed that the average percentage change from baseline to month 3 was 44.3% in BFI score (P <.0001), 43.4% in symptom interference score (P <.0001), and 42.1% in MDASI score (P <.0001).

Investigators also found that 78% of patients experienced a 20% or greater reduction in the average BFI score and 59% had a 2 or more unit reduction in worst fatigue score in the past 24 hours.

The most frequently reported grade 3 to 4 adverse events were neutropenia in 5%; hypertension in 5%; and insomnia, tinnitus with dizziness, and thrombocytopenia each in 2%.

The findings suggest that further evaluation of ruxolitinib for symptom control in this patient population is warranted.


1. Jain P, Keating M, Renner S, et al. Ruxolitinib for symptom control in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: a single-group, phase 2 trial. Lancet. 2017 Jan 11. doi: 10.1016/S2352-3026(16)30194-6. [Epub ahead of print]

This article originally appeared on ONA