FDA approves ibrutinib plus obinutuzumab for CLL/SLL


The Food and Drug Administration has approved ibrutinib (Imbruvica) for use in combination with obinutuzumab to treat adults with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL).

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This is the tenth FDA approval for ibrutinib, a Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor jointly developed and commercialized by Pharmacyclics, an AbbVie company, and Janssen Biotech.

The approval is supported by the phase 3 iLLUMINATE trial (NCT02264574).

Results from this study were recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (Blood. 2018;132:691) and published in the Lancet Oncology (2019 Jan;20[1]:43-56).

The iLLUMINATE trial enrolled newly diagnosed CLL patients who were randomized to receive ibrutinib plus obinutuzumab (n = 113) or chlorambucil plus obinutuzumab (n = 116).

The median follow-up was 31.3 months. The overall response rate was 88% in the ibrutinib arm and 73% in the chlorambucil arm. The complete response rate, including complete response with incomplete marrow recovery, was 19% and 8%, respectively.

The median progression-free survival was not reached in the ibrutinib arm and was 19.0 months in the chlorambucil arm (hazard ratio, 0.23; 95% confidence interval, 0.15-0.37; P less than .0001). The estimated 30-month progression-free survival was 79% and 31%, respectively.

The most common grade 3/4 adverse events in both arms were neutropenia (36% in the ibrutinib arm and 46% in the chlorambucil arm) and thrombocytopenia (19% and 10%, respectively).

There were 10 deaths caused by adverse events in the ibrutinib arm and 3 in the chlorambucil arm. One death was considered possibly related to ibrutinib (sudden death), and another was considered possibly related to chlorambucil (neuroendocrine carcinoma of the skin).

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