2019 at a glance: Hem-onc U.S. drug approvals


The rapid development and identification of novel drugs has translated into innovative therapies in hematology and oncology. The aim of this piece is to present newly approved drugs and expanded indications to serve as a reference guide for practicing clinicians.

Expanded indications for previously approved drugs

This article reviews therapies that were newly approved so far in 2019, as well as those previously approved whose indications were expanded this past year. The list highlights the most clinically important approvals, as well as adverse events that are unique or especially severe.

New approvals

Fedratinib (Inrebic)

Class: JAK2 and FLT3 selective kinase inhibitor.

Disease: Intermediate or high-risk primary or secondary (postpolycythemia vera or postessential thrombocythemia) myelofibrosis.

Dose: 400 mg orally once daily, with or without food.

Adverse events (AEs): Black box warning: Fatal encephalopathy, including Wernicke’s (thiamine level monitoring suggested).

Trials: In JAKARTA (NCT01437787), 37% of patients achieved a 35% or greater reduction in spleen volume and 40% received a 50% or greater reduction in myelofibrosis-related symptoms. In Jakarta-2, there was a 55% spleen response in patients resistant or intolerant to ruxolitinib.

Entrectinib (Rozlytrek)

Class: Tropomyosin receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor.

Disease: Solid tumors that have a neurotrophic tyrosine receptor kinase (NTRK) gene fusion and for ROS-1 positive non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Dose: 600 mg orally once daily.

AEs: Heart failure, QT prolongation, skeletal fractures, hepatotoxicity, central nervous system effects, and hyperuricemia.

Trial: ALKA, STARTRK-1 (NCT02097810) and STARTRK-2 (NCT02568267): Overall response rate of 57% for NTRK positive patients; response rate of 77% in ROS-1 positive NSCLC.

Pexidartinib (Turalio)

Class: Small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor targeting CSF1R.

Disease: Symptomatic tenosynovial giant cell tumor.

Dose: 400 mg orally twice daily without food.

AEs: Black box warning on hepatotoxicity.

Trial: ENLIVEN (NCT02371369): Overall response rate of 38% at 25 weeks, with a 15% complete response rate and a 23% partial response rate.

Darolutamide (Nubeqa)

Class: Androgen receptor inhibitor.

Disease: Nonmetastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer.

Dose: 600 mg orally twice daily with food with concomitant androgen deprivation therapy.

AEs: Fatigue, extremity pain, and rash.

Trial: ARAMIS (NCT02200614): Median metastasis free survival was 40.4 months for patients with darolutamide, compared with 18.4 months for controls.

Selinexor (Xpovio)

Class: Reversible inhibitor of nuclear export of tumor suppressor proteins, growth regulators, and mRNAs of oncogenic proteins.

Disease: Relapsed or refractory multiple myeloma. Indicated for patients who have received at least four prior therapies, including at least two immunomodulatory agents and an anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody.

Dose: 80 mg orally in combination with oral dexamethasone on days 1 and 3 of each week.

AEs: Thrombocytopenia, fatigue, pancytopenia, and hyponatremia.

Trial: STORM (NCT02336815): Overall response rate 25.3% with a median time to first response of 4 weeks and 3.8-month median duration of response.

Polatuzumab vedotin-piiq (Polivy)

Class: CD79b-directed antibody-drug conjugate.

Disease: Relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Indicated for patients who have had at least two prior therapies.

Dose: 1.8 mg/kg intravenous infusion every 21 days for six cycles in combination with bendamustine and a rituximab product.

AEs: Pancytopenia, peripheral neuropathy.

Trial: GO29365 (NCT02257567): Complete response rate was 40% for polatuzumab vedotin-piiq plus bendamustine/rituximab, compared with 18% with bendamustine/rituximab alone.*


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