Acquired mutations associated with ibrutinib resistance in Waldenström macroglobulinemia

Blood. 2017 May 4;129(18):2519-2525. doi: 10.1182/blood-2017-01-761726. Epub 2017 Feb 24.


Ibrutinib produces high response rates and durable remissions in Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM) that are impacted by MYD88 and CXCR4WHIM mutations. Disease progression can develop on ibrutinib, although the molecular basis remains to be clarified. We sequenced sorted CD19+ lymphoplasmacytic cells from 6 WM patients who progressed after achieving major responses on ibrutinib using Sanger, TA cloning and sequencing, and highly sensitive and allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (AS-PCR) assays that we developed for Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) mutations. AS-PCR assays were used to screen patients with and without progressive disease on ibrutinib, and ibrutinib-naïve disease. Targeted next-generation sequencing was used to validate AS-PCR findings, assess for other BTK mutations, and other targets in B-cell receptor and MYD88 signaling. Among the 6 progressing patients, 3 had BTKCys481 variants that included BTKCys481Ser(c.1635G>C and c.1634T>A) and BTKCys481Arg(c.1634T>C) Two of these patients had multiple BTK mutations. Screening of 38 additional patients on ibrutinib without clinical progression identified BTKCys481 mutations in 2 (5.1%) individuals, both of whom subsequently progressed. BTKCys481 mutations were not detected in baseline samples or in 100 ibrutinib-naive WM patients. Using mutated MYD88 as a tumor marker, BTKCys481 mutations were subclonal, with a highly variable clonal distribution. Targeted deep-sequencing confirmed AS-PCR findings, and identified an additional BTKCys481Tyr(c.1634G>A) mutation in the 2 patients with multiple other BTKCys481 mutations, as well as CARD11Leu878Phe(c.2632C>T) and PLCγ2Tyr495His(c.1483T>C) mutations. Four of the 5 patients with BTKC481 variants were CXCR4 mutated. BTKCys481 mutations are common in WM patients with clinical progression on ibrutinib, and are associated with mutated CXCR4.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Aged
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mutation*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / genetics*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles / administration & dosage*
  • Pyrimidines / administration & dosage*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*
  • Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia / drug therapy
  • Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia / genetics*
  • Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia / metabolism


  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ibrutinib
  • Adenine