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N Engl J Med. 2019 Aug 1;381(5):432-443. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1817073.

Ibrutinib-Rituximab or Chemoimmunotherapy for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia.

Author information

1
From Stanford University, Stanford (T.D.S., S.E.C.), the University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, Orange (S.O.), and Kaiser Permanente National Cancer Institute Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP)-Permanente Medical Group, Oakland (C.C.Z.) - all in California; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston (X.V.W., R.M.S.); Mayo Clinic, Rochester (N.E.K., C.A.H., J.F.L., M.L.), and Minnesota Oncology, Burnsville (A.K.S.) - both in Minnesota; Northwell Health Cancer Institute, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra-Northwell, Lake Success (J.B.), and University of Rochester, Rochester (P.M.B.) - both in New York; Mayo Clinic, Phoenix, AZ (D.F.J., E.B.); Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis (A.F.C.); Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York (A.R.M., M.T.); Aurora Cancer Care, West Allis, WI (M.P.M.); National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD (R.F.L.); and the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa (H.E.).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Data regarding the efficacy of treatment with ibrutinib-rituximab, as compared with standard chemoimmunotherapy with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab, in patients with previously untreated chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) have been limited.

METHODS:

In a phase 3 trial, we randomly assigned (in a 2:1 ratio) patients 70 years of age or younger with previously untreated CLL to receive either ibrutinib and rituximab for six cycles (after a single cycle of ibrutinib alone), followed by ibrutinib until disease progression, or six cycles of chemoimmunotherapy with fludarabine, cyclophosphamide, and rituximab. The primary end point was progression-free survival, and overall survival was a secondary end point. We report the results of a planned interim analysis.

RESULTS:

A total of 529 patients underwent randomization (354 patients to the ibrutinib-rituximab group, and 175 to the chemoimmunotherapy group). At a median follow-up of 33.6 months, the results of the analysis of progression-free survival favored ibrutinib-rituximab over chemoimmunotherapy (89.4% vs. 72.9% at 3 years; hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.22 to 0.56; P<0.001), and the results met the protocol-defined efficacy threshold for the interim analysis. The results of the analysis of overall survival also favored ibrutinib-rituximab over chemoimmunotherapy (98.8% vs. 91.5% at 3 years; hazard ratio for death, 0.17; 95% CI, 0.05 to 0.54; P<0.001). In a subgroup analysis involving patients without immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable region (IGHV) mutation, ibrutinib-rituximab resulted in better progression-free survival than chemoimmunotherapy (90.7% vs. 62.5% at 3 years; hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.50). The 3-year progression-free survival among patients with IGHV mutation was 87.7% in the ibrutinib-rituximab group and 88.0% in the chemoimmunotherapy group (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.44; 95% CI, 0.14 to 1.36). The incidence of adverse events of grade 3 or higher (regardless of attribution) was similar in the two groups (in 282 of 352 patients [80.1%] who received ibrutinib-rituximab and in 126 of 158 [79.7%] who received chemoimmunotherapy), whereas infectious complications of grade 3 or higher were less common with ibrutinib-rituximab than with chemoimmunotherapy (in 37 patients [10.5%] vs. 32 [20.3%], P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

The ibrutinib-rituximab regimen resulted in progression-free survival and overall survival that were superior to those with a standard chemoimmunotherapy regimen among patients 70 years of age or younger with previously untreated CLL. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and Pharmacyclics; E1912 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02048813.).

PMID:
31365801
DOI:
10.1056/NEJMoa1817073
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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