MURANO Study Confirms Sustained Benefit of Time-Limited Venetoclax-Rituximab in Relapsed/Refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Interview with:
Prof. John Seymour, MBBS, Ph.D
Lead investigator of the MURANO Trial
Director. Department of Hematology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre &
Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • MURANO is an international, multicenter, open-label, randomized Phase 3 study designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of venetoclax in combination with rituximab compared with bendamustine in combination with rituximab in patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
  • At this year’s American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting, we presented results from the four-year updated analysis from the study, which showed an 81 percent reduction in the relative risk of disease progression or death in patients randomized to the chemotherapy-free, two year fixed-duration treatment course of venetoclax plus rituximab and higher rates of minimal residual disease (MRD)-negativity compared to the standard of care regimen, bendamustine plus rituximab.
  • The long-term data further support the sustained clinical benefit of fixed-duration treatment with venetoclax in combination with rituximab for this patient population.
  • The safety profile of the combination is consistent with the known safety profile of each individual therapy alone. There were no new serious safety issues observed in the MURANO study since the last update. What should readers take away from your report?

    • Venetoclax with an anti-CD20 antibody is the first and only chemotherapy-free therapy given at a fixed duration for the treatment of CLL across multiple lines of treatment, giving these patients a chance to live longer without their disease progressing, and allowing them to stop treatment after a certain amount of time while still receiving maximum benefits.
    • These results support the benefits of stopping treatment for patients with relapsed/refractory CLL, as the treatment continued to show sustained reductions in the risk of disease progression or death in patients for two years after treatment completion, as well as a substantial overall survival benefit. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

    • CLL patients are experiencing a treatment evolution where they no longer need to rely on chemotherapy to manage their disease. The results we’ve seen with venetoclax-based therapies in CLL mean patients have a targeted, chemotherapy-free treatment regimen that delivers lasting remissions.
    • I am encouraged by the sustained clinical benefit we continue to see with venetoclax combinations and look forward to further exploring the potential utility of venetoclax-combinations in other hematologic malignancies. Is there anything else you would like to add?

    • Currently, physicians and patients with CLL have limited treatment choices that can offer long-lasting responses and are well-tolerated at a finite treatment duration and I am pleased with the sustained efficacy and manageable safety profile observed in the study presented at ASH.

Disclosures: I have received Honoria and research funding from a number of pharmaceutical companies, including AbbVie and Roche who are responsible for the development of Venetoclax.

Citation: ASH 2019

Abstract #355: Four-Year Analysis of MURANO Study Confirms Sustained Benefit of Time-Limited Venetoclax-Rituximab (VenR) in Relapsed/Refractory (R/R) Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL)  


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Last Updated on December 10, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD