Calquence significantly prolonged the time patients lived without disease progression or death in previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia

Full results from the Phase III ELEVATE TN trial showed 93% of patients on Calquence combined with obinutuzumab vs. 47% of patients on chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab remained free of disease progression or death at 24 months

Trial also showed 87% of patients on Calquence alone remained free of disease progression or death at 24 months

AstraZeneca today presented results from the interim analysis of the Phase III ELEVATE TN trial, showing that Calquence (acalabrutinib) combined with obinutuzumab or as monotherapy significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) compared to chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab, a standard chemo-immunotherapy treatment, in patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).1

The Independent Review Committee (IRC)-assessed results were presented at the 2019 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Orlando, US. At a median follow-up of 28.3 months, Calquence in combination with obinutuzumab or as a monotherapy significantly reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 90% and 80%, respectively, vs. chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab.1

In an exploratory analysis, Calquence in combination or alone demonstrated consistent PFS improvements across most pre-specified subgroups of patients with high-risk disease characteristics, including the unmutated immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable gene (IGHV), del(11q) and complex karyotype. Overall, the safety and tolerability profile of Calquence observed in the ELEVATE TN trial was consistent with its known profile.1

José Baselga, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D said: “On the heels of approvals in the US, Australia and Canada, these full results provide further evidence that Calquence, as a new treatment option for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, demonstrates remarkable efficacy and a favourable tolerability profile. These results also provide, for the first time, post-hoc analysis data exploring the potential progression-free survival benefit of adding obinutuzumab to a BTK inhibitor such as Calquence versus BTK inhibitor monotherapy in a randomised trial.”

Dr. Jeff Sharman, Director of Research at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, Medical Director of Hematology Research for The US Oncology Network, and a lead author of the ELEVATE TN trial, said: “In the detailed results from the ELEVATE TN trial comparing Calquence to a commonly used chemo-immunotherapy treatment regimen, Calquence demonstrated a clinically meaningful improvement in progression-free survival, while maintaining its known tolerability and safety profile. These are encouraging results for a patient population that is known to face multiple comorbidities, and where tolerability is a critical factor in their treatment.”

Summary of key efficacy results as assessed by IRC from the ELEVATE TN trial at a median follow-up of 28.3 months:1

Efficacy measure

Calquence plus obinutuzumab

N = 179

Calquence monotherapy

N = 179

Chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab

N = 177


Number of events (%)

14 (7.8)

26 (14.5)

93 (52.5)

Median (95% CI), months


(NE, NE)


(34.2, NE)


(20.2, 27.6)

HR (95% CI)

0.10 (0.06, 0.17)

0.20 (0.13, 0.30)






Estimated PFS at 24 months, %








ORR, n (%)

(95% CI)

168 (93.9)

(89.3, 96.5)

153 (85.5)

(79.6, 89.9)

139 (78.5)

(71.9, 83.9)






Number of events (%)

9 (5.0)

11 (6.1)

17 (9.6)

Median (95% CI), months




HR (95% CI)

0.47 (0.21, 1.06)

0.60 (0.28, 1.27)






CI, confidence interval; NR, not reached; NE, not estimable; HR, hazard ratio; ORR, overall response rate;

OS, overall survival

Adverse events (AEs) led to treatment discontinuation in 11.2% of patients treated with Calquence in combination with obinutuzumab and 8.9% of patients treated with Calquence monotherapy versus 14.1% of patients treated with chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab.1

With over two years of follow-up, 79% of patients in both the Calquence-containing arms remain on Calquence as a monotherapy. In the Calquence combination arm (n=178), the most common AEs of any grade (≥30%) included headache (39.9%), diarrhoea (38.8%) and neutropenia (31.5%). In the Calquence monotherapy arm (n=179), the most common AEs of any grade (≥30%) included headache (36.9%) and diarrhoea (34.6%). In the chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab arm (n=169), the most common AEs of any grade (≥30%) included neutropenia (45.0%), infusion-related reaction (39.6%) and nausea (31.4%).1  


Other AEs of clinical interest (%)1

Calquence plus obinutuzumab

N = 178

Calquence monotherapy

N = 179

Chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab

N = 169


Grade ≥3


Grade ≥3


Grade ≥3

Atrial fibrillation







Major bleeding





















SPM excluding NMSC







SPM, secondary primary malignancy; NMSC, non-melanoma skin cancer

These findings, along with previously reported data from the Phase III ASCEND trial in relapsed or refractory CLL, support the recent approvals of Calquence by the US FDA and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration for the treatment of adult patients with CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) and by Health Canada for CLL.2

About Calquence

In the US and Australia, Calquence (acalabrutinib) is approved for the treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) and in Canada for CLL. In the US, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Argentina, Singapore, Chile, and recently India, Calquence is also approved for adult patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) who have received at least one prior therapy. Calquence was approved for MCL under accelerated review in the US; continued approval for previously treated MCL is contingent upon verification and confirmation of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

Calquence is a next-generation selective inhibitor of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK). It binds covalently to BTK, thereby inhibiting its activity.2,3,4,5 In B-cells, BTK signalling results in activation of pathways necessary for B-cell proliferation, trafficking, chemotaxis, and adhesion.2

As part of an extensive clinical development programme, AstraZeneca and Acerta Pharma are currently evaluating Calquence in 23 company-sponsored clinical trials. Calquence is being developed for the treatment of multiple B-cell blood cancers including CLL, MCL, diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, Waldenström macroglobulinaemia, follicular lymphoma and other haematologic malignancies. Several Phase III clinical trials in CLL are ongoing, including ASCEND, ELEVATE TN, ELEVATE-RR (ACE-CL-006) evaluating Calquence versus ibrutinib in patients with previously treated high-risk CLL, and ACE-CL-311 evaluating Calquence in combination with venetoclax and with/without obinutuzumab versus chemoimmunotherapy in patients with previously untreated CLL without 17p deletion or TP53 mutation.


ELEVATE TN (ACE-CL-007) is a randomised, multicentre, open-label Phase III trial evaluating the safety and efficacy of Calquence in combination with obinutuzumab, a CD20 monoclonal antibody, or Calquence alone versus chlorambucil, a chemotherapy, in combination with obinutuzumab in previously untreated patients with CLL. Patients 65 years of age or older, or between 18 and 65 years of age with a total Cumulative Illness Rating Scale (CIRS) >6 or creatinine clearance of 30 to 69 mL/min, were enrolled. In the trial, 535 patients were randomised (1:1:1) into three arms. Patients in the first arm received chlorambucil in combination with obinutuzumab. Patients in the second arm received Calquence (100mg approximately every 12 hours until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity) in combination with obinutuzumab. Patients in the third arm received Calquence monotherapy (100mg approximately every 12 hours until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity).1,6

The primary endpoint is PFS in the Calquence and obinutuzumab arm compared to the chlorambucil and obinutuzumab arm, assessed by an independent review committee (IRC), and a key secondary endpoint is IRC-assessed PFS in the Calquence monotherapy arm compared to the chlorambucil and obinutuzumab arm. Other secondary endpoints include objective response rate, time to next treatment and overall survival.1,6


About CLL

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is one of the most common types of leukaemia in adults, with an estimated 105,000 new cases globally in 2016 and 20,720 new cases in the US in 2019, and the number of people living with CLL is expected to grow with improved treatment as patients live longer with the disease.7,8,9,10 In CLL, too many blood stem cells in the bone marrow become abnormal lymphocytes and these abnormal cells have difficulty fighting infections.7 As the number of abnormal cells grows there is less room for healthy white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.7 This could result in anaemia, infection and bleeding.7 B-cell receptor signalling through BTK is one of the essential growth pathways for CLL.


About AstraZeneca in haematology

Leveraging its strength in oncology, AstraZeneca has established haematology as one of four key oncology disease areas of focus. The Company’s haematology franchise includes two US FDA-approved medicines and a robust global development programme for a broad portfolio of potential blood cancer treatments. Acerta Pharma serves as AstraZeneca’s haematology research and development arm. AstraZeneca partners with like-minded science-led companies to advance the discovery and development of therapies to address unmet need.


About AstraZeneca in oncology

AstraZeneca has a deep-rooted heritage in oncology and offers a quickly growing portfolio of new medicines that has the potential to transform patients’ lives and the Company’s future. With at least six new medicines to be launched between 2014 and 2020, and a broad pipeline of small molecules and biologics in development, the Company is committed to advance oncology as a key growth driver for AstraZeneca focused on lung, ovarian, breast and blood cancers. In addition to AstraZeneca’s main capabilities, the Company is actively pursuing innovative partnerships and investments that accelerate the delivery of our strategy, as illustrated by the investment in Acerta Pharma in haematology.


By harnessing the power of four scientific platforms – Immuno-Oncology, Tumour Drivers and Resistance, DNA Damage Response and Antibody Drug Conjugates – and by championing the development of personalised combinations, AstraZeneca has the vision to redefine cancer treatment and, one day, eliminate cancer as a cause of death.


About AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/NYSE: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolism, and Respiratory. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. Please visit and follow the Company on Twitter @AstraZeneca.

Media Relations



Gonzalo Viña


+44 203 749 5916

Rob Skelding


+44 203 749 5821

Rebecca Einhorn


+1 301 518 4122

Matt Kent


+44 203 749 5906

Jennifer Hursit


+44 203 749 5762

Christina Malmberg Hägerstrand


+46 8 552 53 106

Michele Meixell


+1 302 885 2677


Investor Relations



Thomas Kudsk Larsen


+44 203 749 5712

Henry Wheeler


+44 203 749 5797

Christer Gruvris

BioPharmaceuticals (CV, Metabolism)

+44 203 749 5711

Nick Stone

BioPharmaceuticals (Renal), ESG

+44 203 749 5716

Josie Afolabi

BioPharmaceuticals (Respiratory),

other medicines

+44 203 749 5631

Craig Marks

Finance, fixed income

+44 7881 615 764

Jennifer Kretzmann

Corporate access, retail investors

+44 203 749 5824

US toll-free


+1 866 381 72 77



1. Sharman JP, et al. ELEVATE TN: Phase 3 Study of Acalabrutinib Combined with Obinutuzumab (O) or Alone vs O Plus Chlorambucil (Clb) in Patients (Pts) With Treatment-Naive Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). Abstract 31 at: American Society of Hematology 2019 Annual Meeting and Exposition. Available online. Accessed November 2019.

2. CALQUENCE® (acalabrutinib) [prescribing information]. Wilmington, DE; AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP; 2019.

3. Wu J, Zhang M & Liu D. Acalabrutinib (ACP-196): a selective second-generation BTK inhibitor. J Hematol Oncol. 2016;9(21).

4. Khan Y & O’Brien S. Acalabrutinib and its use in treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Future Oncol. 2018;15(6).

5. Byrd JC, et al. Acalabrutinib (ACP-196) in Relapsed Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. N Engl J Med. 2016; 374:323-332.



6. Elevate CLL TN: Study of Obinutuzumab + Chlorambucil, Acalabrutinib (ACP-196) + Obinutuzumab, and Acalabrutinib in Subjects With Previously Untreated CLL. NCT02475681. Available online. Accessed November 2019.

7. National Cancer Institute. Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version. Available online. Accessed November 2019.

8. Global Burden of Disease Cancer Collaboration. Global, Regional, and National Cancer Incidence, Mortality, Years of Life Lost, Years Lived With Disability, and Disability-Adjusted Life-Years for 29 Cancer Groups, 1990 to 2016. JAMA Oncol. 2018;4(11):1553-1568.

9. American Cancer Society. Key Statistics for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. Available online. Accessed November 2019.

10. Jain N, et al. Prevalence and Economic Burden of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) in the Era of Oral Targeted Therapies. Blood. 2015;126:871.


  • Cancer