IMBRUVICA® (ibrutinib) Combination with anti CD20 Antibody Shows Compelling Results in Heavily Pretreated Patients with CLL and Related Diseases

May 31, 2014, 08:05 ET from Pharmacyclics, Inc.

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 31, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Pharmacyclics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PCYC) announced today that IMBRUVICA®(ibrutinib) in combination with the anti-CD20 antibody, ofatumumab, showed a Kaplan Meier estimate of continued clinical response at 18 months of 82.5% in heavily pre-treated patients with chronic lymphoma leukemia (CLL), small lymphocytic leukemia (SLL), prolymphocytic leukemia (PLL) and Richters Transformation (RT). The median duration of response for all dosing schedules in this study was not reached. The results from this study will be presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) today. This release corresponds to abstract 7009. IMBRUVICA is being jointly developed and commercialized by Pharmacyclics and Janssen Biotech, Inc.

The study design consisted of three dosing cohorts, group 1 received one month of IMBRUVICA monotherapy followed by IMBRUVICA and ofatumumab in combination thereafter, group 2 received IMBRUVICA and ofatumumab in combination from the outset, and group 3 received two months of ofatumumab monotherapy followed by IMBRUVICA and ofatumumab thereafter. Seventy-one (71)  patients with relapsed/refractory CLL/SLL/PLL and RT, with a median of 3 prior therapies, were enrolled in the study (27,20, and 24 in groups 1,2, and 3 respectively). Sixty-one percent (61%) of patients had RAI stage III/IV and were considered high risk, 44% had deletion of the short arm of chromosome 17 (del17p), and 31% a deletion of the short arm of chromosome 11 (del11q), genetic mutations typically associated with poor prognosis. 

The overall response (including complete, partial  and partial responses with lymphocytosis) in CLL/SLL/PLL patients was 100%, 84%, and 75% in groups 1, 2 and 3 respectively, which were achieved within a median of 4.6 months during the study.  At study end 90% (52 of 58) of responders were progression free with follow up of 16, 12 and 11 months for groups 1, 2 and 3 respectively. At 12 months, the PFS was 89%, 85%, and 75% in groups 1,2, and 3.

The adverse events (AEs) for all 3 cohorts combined were mostly grade 1 or 2 AEs. The most frequent events reported in 15% or more of patients were diarrhea (68%, 5 cases of grade >/= 3), infusion related reaction ( 45%, 1 case of grade >/= 3), peripheral sensory neuropathy (42%, 2 cases of grade >/= 3), and stomatitis (37%, 2 cases of grade >/= 3).The grade 3 or higher AE, reported in 15% or more of patients, was neutropenia (22.5%, 16 cases). Of all 71 patients, 6 patients had AEs leading to IMBRUVICA discontinuation.

"These IMBRUVICA results with an anti CD-20 antibody are compelling and suggest that this combination is well tolerated and highly active," said Dr. Samantha M. Jaglowski*,  from the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur James Cancer Hospital & Richard J. Solove Research Institute. "We are especially encouraged to see that with proper dosing sequence, heavily pretreated CLL/SLL patients on this study have achieved 100% response rates which are lasting over long durations."


CLL is a slow-growing blood cancer of white blood cells called lymphocytes, most commonly B cells.1 CLL is the most common adult leukemia in the Western world and predominantly a disease of the elderly with a median age at diagnosis of 72.2 As this orphan disease frequently progresses after front line therapy; patients are faced with fewer treatment options and are often prescribed multiple lines of therapy as they relapse or become resistant to treatments.3


IMBRUVICA is a first in class, oral therapy that inhibits a protein called Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK). BTK is a key signaling molecule of the B-cell receptor signaling complex that plays an important role in the survival and spread of malignant B cells. IMBRUVICA blocks signals that tell malignant B cells to multiply and spread uncontrollably.

The FDA approved IMBRUVICA for previously treated MCL on November 12, 2013 and for previously treated CLL on February 12, 2014. The FDA's accelerated approval for these indications was based on overall response rate of patients in the phase II clinical studies of PCYC-1102 and PCYC-1104. IMBRUVICA is one of the first medicines to file for FDA approval via the new Breakthrough Therapy Designation pathway, enabling Pharmacyclics to rapidly bring this medicine to patients in need.

To date, 11 Phase III trials have been initiated with IMBRUVICA and a total of 45 trials are currently registered on Janssen and Pharmacyclics entered a collaboration and license agreement in December 2011 to co-develop and co-commercialize IMBRUVICA .


IMBRUVICA™ (ibrutinib) is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) who have received at least one prior therapy.
  • Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who have received at least one prior therapy.

These indications are based on overall response rate. Improvements in survival or disease-related symptoms have not been established.

The following safety information is described in the package insert for the use of IMBRUVICA.


Hemorrhage - Five percent of patients with MCL and 6% of patients with CLL had >/= Grade 3 bleeding events (subdural hematoma, ecchymoses, gastrointestinal bleeding, and hematuria). Overall, bleeding events including bruising of any grade occurred in 48% of patients with MCL treated with 560 mg daily and 63% of patients with CLL treated at 420 mg daily.

The mechanism for the bleeding events is not well understood.  IMBRUVICA® may increase the risk of hemorrhage in patients receiving antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapies. Consider the benefit-risk of withholding IMBRUVICA® for at least 3 to 7 days pre- and post-surgery depending upon the type of surgery and the risk of bleeding.

Infections - Fatal and non-fatal infections have occurred with IMBRUVICA® therapy. At least 25% of patients with MCL and 35% of patients with CLL had infections >/= Grade 3 according to NCI Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE). Monitor patients for fever and infections and evaluate promptly.

Myelosuppression - Treatment-emergent Grade 3 or 4 cytopenias were reported in 41% of patients with MCL and 35% of patients with CLL. These included neutropenia (29%), thrombocytopenia (17%) and anemia (9%) in patients with MCL and neutropenia (27%) and thrombocytopenia (10%) in patients with CLL. Monitor complete blood counts monthly.

Renal Toxicity - Fatal and serious cases of renal failure have occurred with IMBRUVICA® therapy. Treatment-emergent increases in creatinine levels up to 1.5 times the upper limit of normal occurred in 67% of patients with MCL and 23% of patients with CLL. Increases in creatinine 1.5 to 3 times the upper limit of normal occurred in 9% of patients with MCL and 4% of patients with CLL. Periodically monitor creatinine levels. Maintain hydration.

Second Primary Malignancies - Other malignancies have occurred in 5% of patients with MCL and 10% of patients with CLL who have been treated with IMBRUVICA®.  Four percent of patients with MCL, had skin cancers and 1% had other carcinomas. Eight percent of patients with CLL had skin cancers and 2% had other carcinomas.

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity - Based on findings in animals, IMBRUVICA® can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women to avoid becoming pregnant while taking IMBRUVICA®. If this drug is used during pregnancy or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus.

ADVERSE REACTIONS - MCL: The most commonly occurring adverse reactions (>/=20%) in the clinical trial were thrombocytopenia*, diarrhea (51%), neutropenia*, anemia*, fatigue (41%), musculoskeletal pain (37%), peripheral edema (35%), upper respiratory tract infection (34%), nausea (31%), bruising (30%), dyspnea (27%), constipation (25%), rash (25%), abdominal pain (24%), vomiting (23%), and decreased appetite (21%).

*Treatment-emergent decreases (all grades) of platelets (57%), neutrophils (47%) and hemoglobin (41%) were based on laboratory measurements and adverse reactions.

The most common Grade 3 or 4 non-hematological adverse reactions (>/=5%) were pneumonia (7%), abdominal pain (5%), atrial fibrillation (5%), diarrhea (5%), fatigue (5%), and skin infections (5%).  Treatment-emergent Grade 3 or 4 cytopenias were reported in 41% of patients.

Ten patients (9%) discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions in the trial (N=111). The most frequent adverse reaction leading to treatment discontinuation was subdural hematoma (1.8%). Adverse reactions leading to dose reduction occurred in 14% of patients.

CLL: The most commonly occurring adverse reactions (>/=20%) in the clinical trial were thrombocytopenia*, diarrhea (63%), bruising (54%), neutropenia*, anemia*, upper respiratory tract infection (48%), fatigue (31%), musculoskeletal pain (27%), rash (27%), pyrexia (25%), constipation (23%), peripheral edema (23%), arthralgia (23%), nausea (21%), stomatitis (21%), sinusitis (21%), and dizziness (21%).

*Treatment-emergent decreases (all grades) of platelets (71%), neutrophils (54%) and hemoglobin (44%) were based on laboratory measurements per IWCLL criteria and adverse reactions.

The most common Grade 3 or 4 non-hematological adverse reactions (>/=5%) were pneumonia (8%), hypertension (8%), atrial fibrillation (6%), sinusitis (6%), skin infection (6%), dehydration (6%), and musculoskeletal pain (6%). Treatment-emergent Grade 3 or 4 cytopenias were reported in 35% of patients.

Five patients (10%) discontinued treatment due to adverse reactions in the trial (N=48). These included 3 patients (6%) with infections and 2 patients (4%) with subdural hematomas. Adverse reactions leading to dose reduction occurred in 13% of patients.

DRUG INTERACTIONS CYP3A Inhibitors - Avoid concomitant administration with strong or moderate inhibitors of CYP3A. If a moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be used, reduce the IMBRUVICA® dose. CYP3A Inducers - Avoid co-administration with strong CYP3A inducers.

SPECIFIC POPULATIONS Hepatic Impairment - Avoid use in patients with baseline hepatic impairment.

For the full prescribing information, visit

About Pharmacyclics

Pharmacyclics® is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing innovative small-molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer and immune mediated diseases. Our mission and goal is to build a viable biopharmaceutical company that designs, develops and commercializes novel therapies intended to improve quality of life, increase duration of life and resolve serious unmet medical healthcare needs; and to identify and control promising product candidates based on scientific development and administrational expertise, develop our products in a rapid, cost-efficient manner and pursue commercialization and/or development partners when and where appropriate.

Pharmacyclics markets IMBRUVICA and has three product candidates in clinical development and several preclinical molecules in lead optimization. The company is committed to high standards of ethics, scientific rigor, and operational efficiency as it moves each of these programs to viable commercialization.

Pharmacyclics is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California and is listed on NASDAQ under the symbol PCYC. To learn more about how Pharmacyclics advances science to improve human healthcare visit us at

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1 American Cancer Society. "Leukemia--Chronic Lymphocytic". Accessed April 2014. 2 Decision Resources estimate 2013. 3 Veliz M, Pinilla-Ibarz J. Treatment of relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia. Cancer Control. 2012 Jan;19(1):37-53.

* Dr. Jaglowski serves as an investigator on this clinical study. She has served as an unpaid advisor to both Pharmacyclics and Janssen in developing the compound ibrutinib. Dr. Jaglowski does not have a financial interest in either company.

SOURCE Pharmacyclics, Inc.