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MILAN—Results of the phase 3 RESONATE trial suggest ibrutinib can improve response and survival rates in patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), when compared to ofatumumab.

Ibrutinib conferred these benefits irrespective of baseline clinical characteristics or molecular features, including 17p deletion.

Atrial fibrillation and bleeding-related events were more common with ibrutinib. But the rate of serious adverse events was similar between the treatment arms.

About 86% of patients remained on ibrutinib at last analysis, and roughly 29% of patients initially randomized to ofatumumab crossed over to the ibrutinib arm after disease progression.

“This study undoubtedly confirms that ibrutinib is a very effective agent—as a single-agent—in relapsed CLL patients,” said investigator Peter Hillmen, MD, PhD, of The Leeds Teaching Hospitals in the UK.

Dr Hillmen presented these results at the 19th Congress of the European Hematology Association (EHA) as abstract S693. The RESONATE trial was sponsored by Pharmacyclics and Janssen, the companies developing ibrutinib.

The trial included 391 patients with relapsed or refractory CLL/SLL. They were randomized to receive oral ibrutinib at 420 mg once daily until progression or unacceptable toxicity (n=195) or intravenous ofatumumab at an initial dose of 300 mg, followed by 11 doses of 2000 mg (n=196). Patients in the ofatumumab arm were allowed to cross over to ibrutinib if they progressed (n=57).

The median age in both treatment arms was 67. Overall, roughly 50% of patients had received 3 or more prior therapies, including purine analogs, alkylating agents, and anti-CD20 antibodies. The proportion of patients with del17p was similar between the treatment arms—32% in the ibrutinib arm and 33% in the ofatumumab arm.

Response and survival

At the time of interim analysis, patients’ median time on study was 9.4 months. The best overall response among evaluable patients was 78% in the ibrutinib arm and 11% in the ofatumumab arm, according to an independent review committee.

In addition, ibrutinib significantly prolonged progression-free survival (PFS). The median PFS was 8.1 months in the ofatumumab arm and was not reached in the ibrutinib arm (P<0.0001). The improvement in PFS represents a 78% reduction in the risk of progression or death.

Dr Hillmen noted that PFS favored ibrutinib regardless of baseline characteristics such as refractoriness to purine analogs, del17p, age, gender, Rai stage, bulky disease, number of prior treatments, del11q, B2 microglobulin, and IgVH mutation status.

Ibrutinib significantly prolonged overall survival (OS) as well. The median OS was not reached in either arm, but the hazard ratio was 0.434 (P=0.0049). The improvement in OS represents a 56% reduction in the risk of death in patients treated with ibrutinib.

Adverse events

Dr Hillmen pointed out that the median treatment duration was 8.6 months for ibrutinib and 5.3 months for ofatumumab, and this difference confounds the assessment of side effects.

Nevertheless, nearly all patients in both treatment arms experienced adverse events—99% in the ibrutinib arm and 98% in the ofatumumab arm. Grade 3/4 events occurred in 51% and 39% of patients, respectively.

Atrial fibrillation of any grade was more common in the ibrutinib arm (n=10) than in the ofatumumab arm (n=1), but 5 of the ibrutinib-treated patients had a prior history of atrial fibrillation. Bleeding-related events were also more common with ibrutinib (44% vs 12%), as were diarrhea (48% vs 18%) and arthralgia (17% vs 7%).

Events more common in the ofatumumab arm included infusion-related reactions (28% vs 0%), peripheral sensory neuropathy (13% vs 4%), urticaria (6% vs 1%), night sweats (13% vs 5%), and pruritus (9% vs 4%). ht-logo-end

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