Venetoclax plus obinutuzumab versus chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab for previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL14): follow-up results from a multicentre, open-label, randomised, phase 3 trial

Lancet Oncol. 2020 Sep;21(9):1188-1200. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(20)30443-5.


Background: Venetoclax plus obinutuzumab has been established as a fixed-duration treatment regimen for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. We compared the long-term efficacy after treatment cessation of the combination of venetoclax plus obinutuzumab with chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab in patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Methods: CLL14 is a multicentre, randomised, open-label, phase 3 trial done at 196 sites in 21 countries. Eligible patients were aged 18 years or older, had untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, and coexisting conditions with a cumulative illness rating scale greater than 6, a creatinine clearance of 30-69 mL/min, or both. Patients were randomly assigned (1:1) via a web and voicemail system with allocation concealment and based on a computer-generated randomisation schedule with a block size of six and stratified by Binet stage and geographical region. Patients received either venetoclax plus obinutuzumab (oral venetoclax initiated on day 22 of cycle 1 [28-day cycles], with a 5-week dose ramp-up [20 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg, and 200 mg, then 400 mg daily for 1 week], thereafter continuing at 400 mg daily until completion of cycle 12; combined with intravenous obinutuzumab for six cycles starting with 100 mg on day 1 and 900 mg on day 2 [or 1000 mg on day 1], 1000 mg on days 8 and day 15 of cycle 1, and subsequently 1000 mg on day 1 of cycles 2 through 6) or chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab (oral chlorambucil at 0·5 mg/kg bodyweight on days 1 and 15 of each cycle for 12 cycles combined with the same obinutuzumab regimen). The primary endpoint was investigator-assessed progression-free survival in the intention-to-treat population. Safety was assessed in all patients who received at least one dose of study treatment. Patient enrolment is complete, and the study is registered with, NCT02242942.

Findings: Between Aug 7, 2015, and Aug 4, 2016, 432 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive either venetoclax plus obinutuzumab (n=216) or chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab (n=216). All patients had been off treatment for at least 24 months at data collection. At a median follow-up of 39·6 months (IQR 36·8-43·0), patients given venetoclax plus obinutuzumab had a significantly longer progression-free survival than did patients given chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab (HR 0·31, 95% CI 0·22-0·44; p<0·0001). Median progression-free survival was not reached (95% CI not estimable to not estimable) in the venetoclax plus obinutuzumab group vs 35·6 months (33·7-40·7) in the chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab group. The most common grade 3 or 4 adverse event in both groups was neutropenia (112 [53%] of 212 patients in the venetoclax plus obinutuzumab group versus 102 [48%] of 214 patients in the chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab group). Serious adverse events occurred in 115 (54%) of 212 patients in the venetoclax plus obinutuzumab group and 95 (44%) of 214 patients in the chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab group. Venetoclax or chlorambucil treatment-related deaths were reported in one (1%) of 212 patients in the venetoclax plus obinutuzumab group (n=1 sepsis) and two (1%) of 214 patients in the chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab group (n=1 septic shock, n=1 metastatic skin squamous carcinoma).

Interpretation: 2 years after treatment cessation, venetoclax plus obinutuzumab continues to significantly improve progression-survival compared with chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab, thereby providing a limited duration treatment option for patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Funding: F Hoffmann-La Roche and AbbVie.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / administration & dosage*
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized / adverse effects
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / adverse effects
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / administration & dosage*
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic / adverse effects
  • Chlorambucil / administration & dosage*
  • Chlorambucil / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / drug therapy*
  • Leukemia, Lymphocytic, Chronic, B-Cell / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Sulfonamides / administration & dosage*
  • Sulfonamides / adverse effects
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal, Humanized
  • Bridged Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic
  • Sulfonamides
  • Chlorambucil
  • venetoclax
  • obinutuzumab

Associated data