ARTICLE ABSTRACTInhibitors of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTKi) and PI3K (PI3Ki) have significantly improved therapy of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). However, the emergence of resistance to BTKi has introduced an unmet therapeutic need. Hence, we sought evidence for essential roles of PI3K-δi and PI3K-γi in treatment-naïve and BTKi-refractory CLL.
Responses to PI3K-δi, PI3K-γi, and the dual-inhibitor duvelisib in each B, T, and myeloid cell compartments of CLL were studied in vitro, and in a xenograft mouse model using primary cells from treatment-naïve and ibrutinib-resistant patients, and finally, in a patient with ibrutinib-resistant CLL treated with duvelisib.
We demonstrate the essential roles of PI3K-δ for CLL B-cell survival and migration, of PI3K-γ for T-cell migration and macrophage polarization, and of dual inhibition of PI3K-δ,γ for efficacious reduction of leukemia burden. We also show that samples from patients whose disease progressed on ibrutinib were responsive to duvelisib therapy in a xenograft model, irrespective of BTK mutations. In support of this, we report a patient with ibrutinib-resistant CLL, bearing a clone with BTK and PLCγ2 mutations, who responded immediately to single-agent duvelisib with redistribution lymphocytosis followed by a partial clinical remission associated with modulation of T and myeloid cells.
Our data define the mechanism of action whereby dual inhibition of PI3K-δ,γ affects CLL B-cell numbers and T and myeloid cell pro-leukemia functions and support the use of duvelisib as a valuable approach for therapeutic interventions, including for patients refractory to BTKi.