FDA Approves Copanlisib for Certain Types of Follicular Lymphoma

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted accelerated approval to copanlisib for treatment of adults with relapsed follicular lymphoma (FL) who have received at least two prior lines of therapy. Copanlisib is a kinase inhibitor that works by blocking some of the enzymes responsible for cancer cell growth.

The FDA’s decision is based on favorable safety and efficacy results in over 100 patients around the world as part of the CHRONOS-1 clinical trial.

Instead of having to wait years to learn whether a drug actually extends survival for cancer patients, accelerated approval enables the FDA to more quickly approve drugs that fulfill an unmet clinical need for serious conditions. Scientists look to measure surrogate or intermediate clinical endpoints – like tumor shrinkage, for example – that indicate whether a drug is reasonably likely to predict clinical benefit.

As a condition of accelerated approval, a randomized control (comparison) trial will be required to verify the clinical benefit of copanlisib before it can move on to help relapsed follicular lymphoma patients whose treatment options are often limited.

FDA Approves Expanded Use of Ibrutinib for Chronic GVHD

Ibrutinib, a BTK inhibitor commonly used to treat lymphoma types like chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma, has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of adults with chronic graft versus host disease (cGVHD).

Ibrutinib Pills in Hand

GVHD can occur following a stem cell or bone marrow transplant from a related or unrelated donor, also known as an allogeneic transplant. When the immune cells from the graft (donor) are infused into the body of the host (patient), they may recognize the host’s native cells as foreign and try to destroy them. While some cases of GVHD are life threatening, chronic cases tend to generate to more mild symptoms, like dry eyes and mouth, fatigue, and muscle weakness and stiffness.

Ibrutinib becomes the first FDA-approved treatment of cGVHD following clinical trials demonstrating durable safety and effectiveness in patients whose symptoms were resistant to prior corticosteroid treatment administered for immune system suppression.

FDA Approves Subcutaneous Administration of Rituximab for Three Lymphoma Types

On June 22, 2017, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved subcutaneous injection of rituximab plus hyaluronidase human for people with follicular lymphoma (FL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Subcutaneous administration refers to the method of delivering a drug under the skin rather than directly into a vein as performed during intravenous (IV) administration.

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Administration of rituximab under the skin tends to take less than 10 minutes, whereas the traditional IV method can last several hours. The technique also allows for fixed dosing, which can reduce preparation time and excess drug waste, and may be more cost effective than IV infusion.

The approved treatment is to be employed only after patients have received at least one cycle of intravenous rituximab.

Approval comes based on the results of a series of clinical trials demonstrating comparable safety and efficacy outcomes across subcutaneous and intravenous administration.