EMA issues positive opinion for IMBRUVICA® as a First-Line Treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia
April 29, 2016 – NORTH CHICAGO. AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) issued a positive opinion in favor of the use of IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) for the treatment of adult patients with previously-untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in the European Union (EU). The positive CHMP recommendation follows the March 4, 2016 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of IMBRUVICA for the first-line treatment of patients with CLL.1 If approved by the European Commission (EC), this would be the fifth treatment indication for IMBRUVICA in the EU to date.
CLL is a chronic disease, and the prevalence rate in Europe among men and women is approximately 5.87 and 4.01 cases per 100,000 persons per year, respectively.2 An expansion of the CLL indication in Europe would mean a larger number of CLL patients, in addition to those with the genetic mutations del 17p or TP53, could initiate their treatment with a safe and effective oral alternative option to chemotherapy, rather than having to wait until they have become relapsed or refractory on another treatment option.
IMBRUVICA is jointly developed and commercialized in the U.S. by Pharmacyclics LLC, an AbbVie company and Janssen Biotech, Inc. In Europe, Janssen-Cilag International NV (Janssen) holds the marketing authorization and its affiliates market IMBRUVICA in EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa), as well as the rest of the world. IMBRUVICA is already approved in Europe to treat adult patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), adult patients with CLL who have received at least one prior therapy or who have del 17p or TP53 mutations, and adult patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM) who have received at least one prior therapy, or as a first-line treatment for WM patients unsuitable for chemo-immunotherapy.3 The EC will review the CHMP opinion and is expected to render a final decision on the use of IMBRUVICA for previously untreated patients with CLL later this year.
“If approved by the European Commission, IMBRUVICA will be available as a treatment option for all CLL patients, including those who are treatment-naïve. The ability to offer a safe and effective, oral, single-agent alternative to chemotherapy in the first-line setting is a landmark few therapies are able to reach,” said Michael Severino, M.D., executive vice president, research and development and chief scientific officer, AbbVie. “The fact that IMBRUVICA has been granted this initial recommendation in the first-line setting is a testament to the dedication of those working on the compound to improve the lives of patients around the world who are suffering from CLL.”
The positive CHMP opinion was based on data from the Phase 3, randomized, open-label RESONATE™-2 (PCYC-1115) trial, which were presented at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting in December 2015 and simultaneously published in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). After a median of 18 months of follow-up, IMBRUVICA was associated with a significant improvement in all efficacy endpoints versus chlorambucil in patients aged 65 or older with newly diagnosed CLL. Specifically, IMBRUVICA was associated with a 90% progression-free survival (PFS; the primary endpoint) rate versus 52% for chlorambucil. Moreover, IMBRUVICA significantly prolonged overall survival (OS; a key secondary endpoint), with a 24-month survival rate of 98% versus 85% for chlorambucil (HR: 0.16; 95% CI, 0.05, 0.56). The safety of IMBRUVICA in the treatment-naïve CLL patient population was consistent with previously reported studies.
RESONATE-2 is a Pharmacyclics-sponsored study which enrolled 269 treatment-naïve patients with CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL) aged 65 years or older in the U.S., EU and other regions. Patients were randomized to receive either IMBRUVICA 420 mg orally, once daily until progression or unacceptable toxicity, or chlorambucil on days 1 and 15 of each 28-day cycle for up to 12 cycles. The starting dose for chlorambucil in Cycle 1 was 0.5 mg/kg and was increased based on tolerability in Cycle 2 by increments of 0.1 mg/kg to a maximum of 0.8 mg/kg. The primary endpoint of the study was PFS as assessed by an Independent Review Committee (IRC) according to the International Workshop on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (iWCLL) 2008 criteria, with modification for treatment-related lymphocytosis. Key secondary endpoints included overall response rate (ORR; based on the same iWCLL criteria), OS and safety.
IMBRUVICA is a first-in-class, oral, once-daily therapy that inhibits a protein called Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK).1 BTK is a key signaling molecule in the B-cell receptor signaling complex that plays an important role in the survival and spread of malignant B cells.1,4 IMBRUVICA blocks signals that tell malignant B cells to multiply and spread uncontrollably.1
IMBRUVICA is approved in the U.S. to treat patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) who have received at least one prior therapy and patients with Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia (WM). Accelerated approval was granted for the MCL indication based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.1
IMBRUVICA is approved in the EU to treat adult patients with relapsed or refractory MCL, adult patients with CLL who have received at least one prior therapy or who have the genetic mutations del 17p or TP53, and adult patients with WM who have received at least one prior therapy, or as a first-line treatment for WM patients unsuitable for chemo‑immunotherapy. 3
IMBRUVICA was one of the first medicines to receive U.S. FDA approval via the new Breakthrough Therapy Designation pathway.
IMBRUVICA is being studied alone and in combination with other treatments in several blood and solid tumor cancers. More than 6,000 patients have been treated with IMBRUVICA in clinical trials. Currently, 14 Phase 3 trials have been initiated with IMBRUVICA and more than 90 trials are registered on www.clinicaltrials.gov.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS
Hemorrhage - Fatal bleeding events have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. Grade 3 or higher bleeding events (intracranial hemorrhage [including subdural hematoma], gastrointestinal bleeding, hematuria, and post-procedural hemorrhage) have occurred in up to 6% of patients. Bleeding events of any grade, including bruising and petechiae, occurred in approximately half of patients treated with IMBRUVICA®.
The mechanism for the bleeding events is not well understood. IMBRUVICA® may increase the risk of hemorrhage in patients receiving antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapies and patients should be monitored for signs of bleeding. Consider the benefit-risk of withholding IMBRUVICA® for at least 3 to 7 days pre- and postsurgery depending upon the type of surgery and the risk of bleeding.
Infections - Fatal and nonfatal infections have occurred with IMBRUVICA® therapy. Grade 3 or greater infections occurred in 14% to 26% of patients. Cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. Evaluate patients for fever and infections and treat appropriately.
Cytopenias - Treatment-emergent Grade 3 or 4 cytopenias including neutropenia (range, 19% to 29%), thrombocytopenia (range, 5% to 17%), and anemia (range, 0% to 9%) occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. Monitor complete blood counts monthly.
Atrial Fibrillation - Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter (range, 6% to 9%) have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®, particularly in patients with cardiac risk factors, hypertension, acute infections, and a previous history of atrial fibrillation. Periodically monitor patients clinically for atrial fibrillation. Patients who develop arrhythmic symptoms (eg, palpitations, lightheadedness) or new-onset dyspnea should have an ECG performed. Atrial fibrillation should be managed appropriately and if it persists, consider the risks and benefits of IMBRUVICA® treatment and dose modification.
Hypertension - Hypertension (range, 6% to 17%) has occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA® with a median time to onset of 4.5 months (range, 0.03 to 18.40 months). Monitor patients for new-onset hypertension or hypertension that is not adequately controlled after starting IMBRUVICA®. Adjust existing antihypertensive medications and/or initiate antihypertensive treatment as appropriate.
Second Primary Malignancies - Other malignancies (range, 5% to 16%) including non-skin carcinomas (range, 1% to 4%) have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. The most frequent second primary malignancy was non-melanoma skin cancer (range, 4% to 13%).
Tumor Lysis Syndrome - Tumor lysis syndrome has been infrequently reported with IMBRUVICA® therapy. Assess the baseline risk (eg, high tumor burden) and take appropriate precautions. Monitor patients closely and treat as appropriate.
Embryo-Fetal Toxicity - Based on findings in animals, IMBRUVICA® can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women to avoid becoming pregnant while taking IMBRUVICA® and for 1 month after cessation of therapy. If this drug is used during pregnancy or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus.
ADVERSE REACTIONSThe most common adverse reactions (≥20%) in patients with B-cell malignancies (MCL, CLL, WM) were thrombocytopenia* (57%, 53%, 43%), diarrhea (51%, 48%, 37%), anemia* (41%, 37%, 13%), neutropenia* (47%, 46%, 44%), musculoskeletal pain (37%, 32%†, NA‡), fatigue (41%, 29%, 21%), bruising (30%, 25%†, 16%†), nausea (31%, 24%, 21%), rash (25%, 23%†, 22%†), and upper respiratory tract infection (34%, 19%, 19%).
*Based on adverse reactions and/or laboratory measurements (noted as platelets, neutrophils, or hemoglobin decreased).†Includes multiple ADR terms.‡Not applicable; no associated ADRs.
The most common Grade 3 or 4 non-hematologic adverse reactions (≥5%) in MCL patients were pneumonia (7%), abdominal pain (5%), atrial fibrillation (5%), diarrhea (5%), fatigue (5%), and skin infections (5%).
Approximately 4% (CLL), 14% (MCL), and 11% (WM) of patients had a dose reduction due to adverse reactions.
Approximately 4%-10% (CLL), 9% (MCL), and 6% (WM) of patients discontinued due to adverse reactions. Most frequent adverse reactions leading to discontinuation were pneumonia, subdural hematomas, and atrial fibrillation (1% each) in CLL patients and subdural hematoma (1.8%) in MCL patients.
CYP3A Inhibitors - Avoid coadministration with strong and moderate CYP3A inhibitors. If a moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be used, reduce the IMBRUVICA® dose.
CYP3A Inducers - Avoid coadministration with strong CYP3A inducers.
Hepatic Impairment - Avoid use in patients with moderate or severe baseline hepatic impairment. In patients with mild impairment, reduce IMBRUVICA® dose.
1 IMBRUVICA US Prescribing Information, March 2016.2 Sagatys EM, Zhang L. Clinical and laboratory prognostic indicators in chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer Control. 2012;19:18-25.3 IMBRUVICA Summary of Product Characteristics, October 2015. Available at: http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/EPAR_-_Product_Information/human/003791/WC500177775.pdf. Accessed: April 2016.4 Genetics Home Reference. Isolated growth hormone deficiency. Available from: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/isolated-growth-hormone-deficiency. Accessed April 2016.