Development of venetoclax for therapy of lymphoid malignancies

Drug Design, Development and Therapy. 2017;Volume11:685-694


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Drug Design, Development and Therapy

ISSN: 1177-8881 (Online)

Publisher: Dove Medical Press

LCC Subject Category: Medicine: Therapeutics. Pharmacology

Country of publisher: United Kingdom

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Zhu H

Almasan A


Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 16 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Huayuan Zhu,1,2 Alexandru Almasan1 1Department of Cancer Biology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, USA; 2Department of Hematology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, Jiangsu Province Hospital, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China Abstract: B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) family dysfunction and impairment of apoptosis are common in most B-cell lymphoid malignancies. Venetoclax (Venclexta™, formerly ABT-199, GDC-0199) is a highly selective BCL-2 inhibitor, which mimics its BCL-2 homology 3-domain to induce apoptosis. It was approved for treatment of previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) patients with 17p deletion early in 2016. It has also been in clinical trials for other B-cell lymphoid malignancies. Unlike the other recently approved targeted agents idelalisib and ibrutinib, so far there has been no relapse reported in some patients. Also, unlike the other targeted agents, it is effective against tumor cells that reside in the blood marrow. Despite its promising outcome in CLL, preclinical data have already uncovered mechanistic insights underlying venetoclax resistance, such as upregulation of MCL-1 or BCL-xL expression and protective signaling from the microenvironment. In this review, we describe the role of the BCL-2 family in the pathogenesis of B-cell lymphoid malignancies, the development of venetoclax, and its current clinical outcome in CLL and other B-cell malignancies. We also discuss the resistance mechanisms that develop following venetoclax therapy, potential strategies to overcome them, and how this knowledge can be translated into clinical applications. Keywords: BCL-2, BCL-xL, chronic lymphocytic leukemia, MCL-1, venetoclax