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Minimal residual disease (MRD)-negativity is a big deal and is now being recognized right on the label of venetoclax, a potent medication used to treat CLL.
Please see their press release below:
Minimal Residual Disease Negativity Data, a Measure of Undetectable Disease, Added to Venetoclax tablet Label
September 11, 2018
- Minimal residual disease (MRD)-negativity is defined as having disease at a threshold of less than one chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cell per 10,000 lymphocytes in the blood or bone marrow
- In the Phase 3 MURANO study, 53 percent of previously-treated CLL patients treated with the combination of VENCLEXTA and rituximab achieved MRD-negativity (undetectable disease) in their blood after approximately nine months, while 12 percent of patients treated with the standard chemoimmunotherapy regimen of bendamustine plus rituximab achieved MRD-negativity
- Label expansion follows the recent FDA approval of VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab as the first chemotherapy-free combination with a fixed treatment duration for previously-treated CLL that allows patients to stop treatment after approximately two years
- Milestone marks the second label expansion for VENCLEXTA in 2018
NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Sept. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the label for VENCLEXTA® (venetoclax tablets) in combination with rituximab to include information about patients with previously-treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who achieved minimal residual disease (MRD)-negativity in the Phase 3 MURANO trial.
MRD-negativity occurs when less than one CLL cell per 10,000 lymphocytes can be detected in the blood or bone marrow using sensitive analytical methods.1 More than half (53 percent [103/194]) of patients treated with the VENCLEXTA and rituximab combination achieved MRD-negativity (undetectable disease) after approximately nine months on therapy (three months after the last dose of rituximab), while 12 percent (23/195) of patients treated with the standard chemoimmunotherapy regimen of bendamustine plus rituximab achieved MRD-negativity.2
“With this label expansion for VENCLEXTA, physicians now have additional information on MRD-negativity, which is becoming an increasingly important goal when caring for their previously-treated CLL patients,” said Michael Severino, M.D., executive vice president, research and development, and chief scientific officer, AbbVie. “VENCLEXTA plus rituximab is the first chemotherapy-free combination for previously-treated CLL that allows patients the ability to stop treatment after approximately two years. This label expansion is another important milestone in our efforts to advance care for patients with difficult-to-treat blood cancers.”
In the MURANO study, the MRD-negativity rate was evaluated in patients who responded to treatment. The rate of MRD-negativity in patients with a complete response or complete response with incomplete marrow recovery (CR/CRi) at nine months on therapy (three months after the last dose of rituximab) was 3 percent (6/194) in the VENCLEXTA plus rituximab arm and 2 percent (3/195) in the bendamustine plus rituximab arm.2
CLL is typically a slow-growing cancer of the bone marrow and blood in which white blood cells called lymphocytes become cancerous and multiply abnormally.3 In the U.S., CLL accounts for more than 20,000 newly diagnosed cases of leukemia each year.3
“CLL is a chronic, life-altering cancer marked by periods of remission and relapse, making it an emotional rollercoaster for patients. Many patients who enter remission worry that the disease will relapse,” said Prof. John Seymour, MBBS, Ph.D., lead investigator of the MURANO study and director of clinical haematology at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre & Royal Melbourne Hospital in Australia. “The rates of MRD-negativity seen with VENCLEXTA plus rituximab are very encouraging. A goal in treating patients with CLL is to help them achieve the longest remission possible. MRD-negativity provides us with yet another potential tool for evaluating the effectiveness of new therapies.”
VENCLEXTA, a first-in-class medicine that selectively binds and inhibits the B-cell lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) protein, has been granted four Breakthrough Therapy Designations (BTDs) from the FDA.4 In June 2018, the FDA approved, under priority review, VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab for the treatment of patients with CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL), with or without 17p deletion, who have received at least one prior therapy.2 The addition of MRD-negativity data in these previously-treated CLL patients represents the second label expansion for VENCLEXTA in 2018.
VENCLEXTA is being developed by AbbVie and Roche. It is jointly commercialized by AbbVie and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, in the U.S. and by AbbVie outside of the U.S. Together, the companies are committed to BCL-2 research and to studying venetoclax in clinical trials across several blood and other cancers. 5,6,7,8
About the MURANO Study and MRD Results
A total of 389 patients with relapsed or refractory (R/R) CLL who had received at least one prior therapy were enrolled in the international, multicenter, open-label, randomized (1:1) MURANO study (NCT02005471). The study was designed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab (194 patients) compared with bendamustine in combination with rituximab (195 patients). The median age of patients in the trial was 65 years (range: 22 to 85 years).2
Efficacy in the U.S. was based on progression-free survival (PFS; the time people live without their disease worsening) as assessed by an Independent Review Committee (IRC). Median PFS with VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab was not reached compared with 18.1 months for bendamustine in combination with rituximab (hazard ratio: 0.19; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.13, 0.28; P<0.0001). The median follow-up for PFS was 23.4 months (range: 0 to 37.4+ months). Additional efficacy endpoints included IRC-assessed response rate (defined as overall response rate [ORR], complete response [CR] plus complete response with incomplete marrow recovery [CRi], nodular partial response [nPR], or partial response [PR]), overall survival (OS) and MRD-negativity).2
MRD was evaluated in patients who achieved a PR or better using allele-specific oligonucleotide polymerase chain reaction (ASO-PCR). The definition of negative status was less than one CLL cell per 10,000 lymphocytes. After nine months on therapy (three months after the last dose of rituximab), the MRD-negativity rate in peripheral blood was 53 percent (103/194) in the VENCLEXTA plus rituximab arm and 12 percent (23/195) in the bendamustine plus rituximab arm.2 The MRD-negativity rate in patients with a CR/CRi at this time point was 3 percent (6/194) in the VENCLEXTA plus rituximab arm and 2 percent (3/195) in the bendamustine plus rituximab arm.
The most common adverse reactions (ARs; ≥20 percent) of any grade for VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab were neutropenia (65 percent), diarrhea (40 percent), upper respiratory tract infection (39 percent), fatigue (22 percent), cough (22 percent) and nausea (21 percent). In the VENCLEXTA plus rituximab arm, discontinuation due to any ARs occurred in 16 percent of patients, dose reduction in 15 percent, and dose interruption in 71 percent. In the bendamustine plus rituximab arm, ARs led to treatment discontinuation in 10 percent of patients, dose reduction in 15 percent, and dose interruption in 40 percent. In the VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab arm, neutropenia led to dose interruption of VENCLEXTA in 46 percent of patients and discontinuation in 3 percent, and thrombocytopenia led to discontinuation in 3 percent of patients. In the VENCLEXTA in combination with rituximab arm, fatal ARs that occurred in the absence of disease progression and within 30 days of the last VENCLEXTA treatment and/or 90 days of the last rituximab treatment were reported in 2 percent (4/194) of patients. Serious ARs were reported in 46 percent of patients, with the most frequent (≥5 percent) being pneumonia (9 percent).2
1 Hallek M, et al. Guidelines for diagnosis, indications for treatment, response assessment and supportive management of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Blood. 2018;131(25):2745-2760.
2 VENCLEXTA (venetoclax tablets) [Package Insert]. North Chicago, Ill.: AbbVie Inc.
3 American Cancer Society (2018). Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/CRC/PDF/Public/8679.00.pdf. Accessed August 2018.
4 Farrell A. Grant-Breakthrough Therapy Designation (CLL). Department of Health and Human Services. 2016:1-3.
5 Clinicaltrials.gov (2018). NCT01994837: A Phase 2 Study of ABT-199 in subjects with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML). Accessed August 2018.
6 Clinicaltrials.gov (2018). NCT01794520: Study evaluating ABT-199 in subjects with relapsed or refractory Multiple Myeloma. Accessed August 2018.
7 Clinicaltrials.gov (2018). NCT01328626: A Phase 1 study evaluating the safety and pharmacokinetics of ABT-199 in subjects with relapsed or refractory Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Accessed August 2018.
8 Clinicaltrials.gov (2018). NCT01889186: A study of the efficacy of ABT-199 in subjects with relapsed/refractory or previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia with the 17p deletion. Accessed August 2018.