FDA approves first drug for steroid-refractory acute GVHD


The Food and Drug Administration has approved Jafaki (ruxolitinib) for treatment of steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in adult and pediatric patients 12 years and older.

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Ruxolitinib will be made available to appropriate patients immediately, according to a statement from Incyte, which markets the drug. The company noted that ruxolitinib is the first FDA-approved treatment for this indication.

The approval is based on data from the open-label, single-arm, multicenter REACH1 trial, which studied ruxolitinib in combination with corticosteroids. The 71 patients in the trial had grade 2-4 acute GVHD after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant; of these patients, 49 were refractory to steroids alone, 12 had received at least two prior therapies for GVHD, and 10 did not otherwise meet the FDA definition of steroid refractory.

The trial’s primary endpoints were day-28 overall response rate and response duration. Among the 49 patients with steroid only–refractory GVHD, the overall response rate was 100% for grade 2 GVHD, 40.7% for grade 3, and 44.4% for grade 4. Median response duration was 16 days. For all 49 of these patients, the overall response rate was 57%, and the complete response rate was 31%.

Among all 71 participants, the most frequently reported adverse reactions were infections (55%) and edema (51%); anemia (71%), thrombocytopenia (75%), and neutropenia (58%) were the most common laboratory abnormalities.

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