News from the FDA/CDC

Venetoclax label now includes MRD data


The Food and Drug Administration has expanded the label for venetoclax tablets (Venclexta) to include data on minimal residual disease.

The drug’s prescribing information will now include details on minimal residual disease (MRD) negativity in previously treated patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who received venetoclax in combination with rituximab in the phase 3 MURANO trial.

The combination of venetoclax and rituximab was approved by the FDA in June 2018 for the treatment of patients with CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma, with or without 17p deletion, who received at least one prior therapy.

The MURANO trial (NCT02005471), which supported the FDA approval, included 389 patients with relapsed or refractory CLL. They were randomized to receive venetoclax plus rituximab or bendamustine plus rituximab (N Engl J Med. 2018; 378:1107-20).

Researchers evaluated MRD in patients who achieved a partial response or better. MRD was assessed using allele-specific oligonucleotide polymerase chain reaction; the definition of MRD negativity was less than one CLL cell per 10,000 lymphocytes.

The researchers assessed MRD in the peripheral blood after about 9 months on therapy (3 months after the last dose of rituximab). At that time, 53% (103/194) of patients in the venetoclax-rituximab arm were MRD negative, as were 12% (23/195) of patients in the bendamustine-rituximab arm.

The researchers also assessed MRD in the peripheral blood of patients with a complete response or complete response with incomplete marrow recovery. MRD negativity was achieved by 3% (6/194) of these patients in the venetoclax-rituximab arm and 2% (3/195) in the bendamustine-rituximab arm.

Venetoclax is being developed by AbbVie and Roche. It is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the United States and by AbbVie outside of the United States.

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