Fifth FDA-approved indication for Adcetris changes four decades old way to treat Hodgkin lymphoma

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday approved Saettle Genetics’s Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) to treat adult patients with previously untreated stage III or IV classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) in combination with chemotherapy.

According to Richard Pazdur,  director of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence and acting director of the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, this approval means an improvement in the initial treatment regimens of advanced Hodgkin lymphoma that were introduced into clinical practice more than 40 years ago.

Seattle Genetics pointed out that the approval is based on the successful outcome of the phase 3 ECHELON-1 clinical trial that compared ADCETRIS plus AVD to ABVD. Seattle Genetics also said that the data from the ECHELON-1 trial converted the U.S. accelerated approval of ADCETRIS for the treatment of adults with systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (sALCL) after failure of at least one multi-agent chemotherapy regimen to regular approval.

The FDA noted that the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health estimates that 8,260 people in the United States were diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma last year and approximately 1,070 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma died from the disease in 2017.

The FDA also granted Priority Review for the supplemental Biologics License Application (BLA), and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) target action date was May 1, 2018.

“The standard of care for treating newly diagnosed advanced Hodgkin lymphoma has not changed in more than four decades. For years, the physician community has been conducting clinical trials to identify improved regimens that are both less toxic and more effective to no avail,” said Joseph M. Connors, Clinical Director, Center for Lymphoid Cancer at BC Cancer in Vancouver, Canada.

He said that the ECHELON-1 study results showed with superior efficacy of the Adcetris plus chemotherapy regimen when compared to the standard of care while removing bleomycin, an agent that can cause unpredictable and sometimes fatal lung toxicity, completely from the regimen.

This is the fifth FDA-approved indication for Adcetris.

Clay Siegall, President and Chief Executive Officer of Seattle Genetics said that up to one of three of newly diagnosed advanced-stage classical Hodgkin lymphoma patients will experience disease progression after treatment with the current standard of care, representing a significant need for improved treatment options for these often younger patients. He Siegall said that with today’s FDA approval, the physician and patient community have a new treatment option for previously untreated Stage III or IV Hodgkin lymphoma patients.

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