In chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients, treatment with the Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor ibrutinib induces a rapid shift of tumour cells from lymph nodes (LN) to peripheral blood (PB). Here, we characterized in depth the dynamics of ibrutinib-induced inflammatory, transcriptional and cellular changes in different compartments immediately after treatment initiation in seven relapsed/refractory CLL patients. Serial PB and LN samples were taken before start and during the first 29 days of treatment. Changes in plasma inflammation-related biomarkers, CLL cell RNA expression, B-cell activation and migration markers expression, and PB mononuclear cell populations were assessed. A significant reduction of 10 plasma inflammation markers, the majority of which were chemokines and not CLL-derived, was observed within hours, and was paralleled by very early increase of CD19+ circulating cells. At the RNA level, significant and continuous changes in transcription factors and signalling molecules linked to B-cell receptor signalling and CLL biology was observed in both PB and LN CLL cells already after 2 days of treatment. In conclusion, ibrutinib seems to instantly shut off an ongoing inflammatory response and interfere with diverse sensitive pathways in the LN.
Keywords: RNA sequencing; chemokines; chronic lymphocytic leukaemia; flow-cytometry; ibrutinib.
© 2018 British Society for Haematology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.