Patients with mantle cell lymphoma failing ibrutinib are unlikely to respond to salvage chemotherapy and have poor outcomes

Ann Oncol. 2015 Jun;26(6):1175-1179. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdv111. Epub 2015 Feb 23.


Background: Although ibrutinib is highly effective in patients with relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a substantial proportion of patients have resistant disease. The subsequent outcomes of such patients are unknown.

Patients and methods: We carried out a retrospective review of all patients with MCL treated with ibrutinib at MD Anderson Cancer Center between January 2011 and January 2014 using pharmacy and clinical databases. Patients who had discontinued ibrutinib for any reason were included in the study.

Results: We identified 42 patients with MCL who discontinued therapy due to disease progression on treatment (n = 28), toxicity (n = 6), elective stem-cell transplant in remission (n = 4) or withdrawn consent (n = 4). The median age was 69 years, 35 (83%) were male; the median number of prior treatments was 2 (range 1-8) and the median time from initial diagnosis of MCL to commencing ibrutinib was 3.0 (range 0.5-15.5) years. Patients had received a median of 6.5 (range 1-43) cycles of ibrutinib. Among 31 patients who experienced disease progression following ibrutinib and underwent salvage therapy, the overall and complete response rates were 32% and 19%, respectively. After a median follow-up of 10.7 (range 2.4-38.9) months from discontinuation of ibrutinib, the median overall survival (OS) among patients with disease progression was 8.4 months. By univariate analysis, elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase at progression was associated with inferior OS.

Conclusion: The outcome of patients with MCL who experience disease progression following ibrutinib therapy is poor, with both low response rates to salvage therapy and short duration of responses. Further studies to better understand and overcome ibrutinib resistance are urgently needed.

Keywords: Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitors; ibrutinib; mantle cell lymphoma; prognosis; treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood
  • Disease Progression
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Drug Substitution*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kaplan-Meier Estimate
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / enzymology
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / mortality
  • Lymphoma, Mantle-Cell / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism
  • Pyrazoles / adverse effects
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrimidines / adverse effects
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Salvage Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Texas
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Failure


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ibrutinib
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Agammaglobulinaemia Tyrosine Kinase