Health Canada approves new use for brentuximab vedotin


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Brentuximab vedotin

Health Canada has issued a non-conditional marketing authorization for brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris).

This means the drug is now approved for use as consolidation after autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) who have an increased risk of relapse or progression.

Brentuximab vedotin previously received approval with conditions in Canada to treat HL patients who relapse after ASCT or HL patients who are not ASCT candidates and relapse after at least 2 multi-agent chemotherapy regimens.

Brentuximab vedotin also has conditional approval in Canada to treat patients with systemic anaplastic large-cell lymphoma who relapse after at least 1 multi-agent chemotherapy regimen.

Brentuximab vedotin is an antibody-drug conjugate consisting of an anti-CD30 monoclonal antibody attached by a protease-cleavable linker to a microtubule disrupting agent, monomethyl auristatin E.

Brentuximab vedotin has marketing authorization in 67 countries for the treatment of relapsed or refractory HL and systemic anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.

Seattle Genetics and Takeda are jointly developing brentuximab vedotin. Seattle Genetics has US and Canadian commercialization rights, and Takeda has rights to commercialize the drug in the rest of the world.


Health Canada’s decision to extend the marketing authorization of brentuximab vedotin is based on results from the phase 3 AETHERA trial.

The trial was designed to compare brentuximab vedotin to placebo, both administered for up to 16 cycles (approximately 1 year) every 3 weeks following ASCT. Results from the trial were published in The Lancet in March 2015.

The study enrolled 329 HL patients at risk of relapse or progression—165 on the brentuximab vedotin arm and 164 on the placebo arm.

Patients were eligible for enrollment if they had a history of primary refractory HL, relapsed within a year of receiving frontline chemotherapy, and/or had disease outside of the lymph nodes at the time of pre-ASCT relapse.

Brentuximab vedotin conferred a significant increase in progression-free survival over placebo, with a hazard ratio of 0.57 (P=0.001). The median progression-free survival was 43 months for patients who received brentuximab vedotin and 24 months for those who received placebo.

The most common adverse events (≥20%), of any grade and regardless of causality, in the brentuximab vedotin arm were neutropenia (78%), peripheral sensory neuropathy (56%), thrombocytopenia (41%), anemia (27%), upper respiratory tract infection (26%), fatigue (24%), peripheral motor neuropathy (23%), nausea (22%), cough (21%), and diarrhea (20%).

The most common adverse events (≥20%), of any grade and regardless of causality, in the placebo arm were neutropenia (34%), upper respiratory tract infection (23%), and thrombocytopenia (20%).

In all, 67% of patients on the brentuximab vedotin arm experienced peripheral neuropathy. Of those patients, 85% had resolution (59%) or partial improvement (26%) in symptoms at the time of their last evaluation, with a median time to improvement of 23 weeks (range, 0.1-138).

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