Oncology Times

FDA Approved Ibrutinib Plus Obinutuzumab for Treatment-Naïve CLL/SLL


The FDA recently approved ibrutinib in combination with obinutuzumab in treatment-naïve patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL). 

This is the first approval for a non-chemotherapy combination regimen for treatment-naïve patients with CLL/SLL, and marks the tenth FDA approval for ibrutinib since its U.S. launch in November 2013. The approval expands the label for ibrutinib in frontline CLL/SLL beyond its use as a monotherapy to include combination use with obinutuzumab.

"In just a few years, [ibrutinib] has become an important treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. [Ibrutinib] as a single agent—and now as a combination with obinutuzumab—provides patients with CLL with an alternative to frontline treatment with chemoimmunotherapy," said Carol Moreno, MD, PhD, Consultant Hematologist, Hospital de la Santa Creu Sant Pau, Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain, and lead investigator of the iLLUMINATE study.

This approval is based on results from the phase III iLLUMINATE study (PCYC-1130). At a median follow-up of 31 months, ibrutinib plus obinutuzumab showed a significant improvement in Independent Review Committee (IRC)-evaluated progression-free survival compared with chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab (median not evaluable [NE] vs. 19 months; hazard ratio [HR] 0.23; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.15-0.37; P<0.0001), with a 77 percent reduction in risk of progression or death.

Patients with high-risk disease (17p deletion/TP53 mutation, 11q deletion, or unmutated IGHV) treated with ibrutinib plus obinutuzumab experienced an 85 percent reduction in risk of progression or death (HR 0.15; 95% CI: 0.09-0.27). The IRC-evaluated overall response rate was 89 percent in the ibrutinib plus obinutuzumab arm versus 73 percent in the chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab arm. The data were recently presented in an oral session at the 2018 American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting (Abstract 691) and simultaneously published in The Lancet Oncology (2018; doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30788-5).

The FDA also updated the ibrutinib label to include additional long-term efficacy data supporting its use as a monotherapy in CLL/SLL, with approximately 5 years of follow-up from the phase III RESONATE (PCYC-1112) and RESONATE-2 (PCYC-1115, PCYC-1116) international studies.

The most common adverse reactions (occurring in 20% or more of patients) of all grades in patients treated with ibrutinib plus obinutuzumab in the iLLUMINATE study were neutropenia (48%), thrombocytopenia (36%), rash (36%), diarrhea (34%), musculoskeletal pain (33%), bruising (32%), cough (27%), infusion related reaction (25%), hemorrhage (25%), and arthralgia (22%).

The recommended dose of ibrutinib for CLL/SLL is 420 mg orally once daily until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity as a single agent or in combination with obinutuzumab or bendamustine and rituximab. When administering ibrutinib in combination with rituximab or obinutuzumab, doctors should consider administering ibrutinib prior to rituximab or obinutuzumab when given on the same day.


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