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CLL Medicines in Clinical Trials: Epkinly
Posted: Mar 25, 2024
CLL Medicines in Clinical Trials: Epkinly image

What is Epkinly? 

Epcoritamab-bysp (Epkinly) is a bispecific T-cell engager currently FDA-approved for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and is being administered to relapsed/refractory CLL patients through the recruiting clinical trial EPCORE CLL-1 at various locations. Click here to find a healthcare facility near you administering Epkinly. Clinical trials can be a great option as they provide access to cutting-edge medical interventions before they become widely available, potentially offering hope for conditions with limited treatment options. Click here to learn more about the benefits of joining a CLL clinical trial. 

Epkinly is an “off the shelf” therapy, meaning it is ready to be used, and patients do not need to wait multiple weeks for the medicine to be produced in a lab, such as with CAR T-cell therapy. It works by attaching to the surface protein CD3 on a cancer-killing T-cell and the surface protein CD20 on a cancerous B-cell such as the ones found in CLL, bringing the two near each other. This helps the T-cell recognize and kill the CLL cell.  

94.5% of CLL patients have the CD20 protein on the surface of their CLL cells, meaning Epkinly may work for them. To review if your CLL cells have the CD20 protein, review the results of your flow cytometry test

Image source: Epkinly

How Effective is Epkinly for CLL? 

Administering Epkinly by itself helps 67% of relapsed/refractory CLL patients achieve remission (full or partial reduction of CLL signs/symptoms). At the check-in point of 9 months, Epkinly continued to limit the progression of CLL for 67% of patients. Researchers look forward to improving the effectiveness of Epkinly for relapsed/refractory CLL by combining it with other medicines like venetoclax and lenalidomide in the EPCORE CLL-1 study. 

How is Epkinly Administered? 

Epkinly is administered in step-up doses as a weekly subcutaneous (under the skin) injection, moving to every other week indefinitely until the CLL cells stop responding to the medicine. 

Step-up dosing means you will receive small doses first, then gradually work up to the recommended dose. Administering Epkinly through step-up dosing helps reduce the risk of potential side effects. 

What are the Side Effects of Epkinly for CLL? 

Data from the EPCORE CLL-1 study showed that the most common side effects CLL patients experienced while receiving Epkinly were cytokine release syndrome (CRS), lower platelets, lower red blood cells, fatigue, injection-site reactions, nausea, and lower neutrophils. CRS was experienced by all patients but was mainly mild and manageable. A serious side effect called immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome (ICANS) was observed in a few patients but was also manageable​​​​. Healthcare professionals provide solutions to help you manage side effects caused by Epkinly. 


In conclusion, Epkinly is a medicine that brings cancer-killing T-cells near CLL cells, helping eliminate them. This medicine is currently being administered in a clinical trial to treat relapsed/refractory CLL patients. The data so far shows promising results, helping 67% of high-risk CLL patients achieve remission with manageable side effects. Talk to your CLL specialist to review if receiving Epkinly is right for you.

The author Megan Heaps

about the author
Megan Heaps

Megan joined HealthTree in 2022. As a writer and the daughter of a blood cancer patient, she is dedicated to helping patients and their caregivers understand the various aspects of their disease. This understanding enables them to better advocate for themselves and improve their treatment outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family. 

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