Global efforts to eliminate lymphatic filariasis are based on the annual mass administration of antifilarial drugs to reduce the microfilaria reservoir available to the mosquito vector. Insecticide-treated bed nets are being widely used in areas in which filariasis and malaria are coendemic.
We studied five villages in which five annual mass administrations of antifilarial drugs, which were completed in 1998, reduced the transmission of Wuchereria bancrofti, one of the nematodes that cause lymphatic filariasis. A total of 21,899 anopheles mosquitoes were collected for 26 months before and 11 to 36 months after bed nets treated with long-lasting insecticide were distributed in 2009. We evaluated the status of filarial infection and the presence of W. bancrofti DNA in anopheline mosquitoes before and after the introduction of insecticide-treated bed nets. We then used a model of population dynamics to estimate the probabilities of transmission cessation.
Village-specific rates of bites from anopheline mosquitoes ranged from 6.4 to 61.3 bites per person per day before the bed-net distribution and from 1.1 to 9.4 bites for 11 months after distribution (P<0.001). During the same period, the rate of detection of W. bancrofti in anopheline mosquitoes decreased from 1.8% to 0.4% (P = 0.005), and the rate of detection of filarial DNA decreased from 19.4% to 14.9% (P = 0.13). The annual transmission potential was 5 to 325 infective larvae inoculated per person per year before the bed-net distribution and 0 after the distribution. Among all five villages with a prevalence of microfilariae of 2 to 38%, the probability of transmission cessation increased from less than 1.0% before the bed-net distribution to a range of 4.9 to 95% in the 11 months after distribution.
Vector control with insecticide-treated bed nets is a valuable tool for W. bancrofti elimination in areas in which anopheline mosquitoes transmit the parasite. (Funded by the U.S. Public Health Service and the National Institutes of Health.)
The eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) viruses are pathogens that infect humans and horses in the Americas. Outbreaks of neurologic disease in humans and horses were reported in Panama from May through early August 2010.
We performed antibody assays and tests to detect viral RNA and isolate the viruses in serum samples from hospitalized patients. Additional cases were identified with enhanced surveillance.
A total of 19 patients were hospitalized for encephalitis. Among them, 7 had confirmed EEE, 3 had VEE, and 1 was infected with both viruses; 3 patients died, 1 of whom had confirmed VEE. The clinical findings for patients with EEE included brain lesions, seizures that evolved to status epilepticus, and neurologic sequelae. An additional 99 suspected or probable cases of alphavirus infection were detected during active surveillance. In total, 13 cases were confirmed as EEE, along with 11 cases of VEE and 1 case of dual infection. A total of 50 cases in horses were confirmed as EEE and 8 as VEE; mixed etiologic factors were associated with 11 cases in horses. Phylogenetic analyses of isolates from 2 cases of equine infection with the EEE virus and 1 case of human infection with the VEE virus indicated that the viruses were of enzootic lineages previously identified in Panama rather than new introductions.
Cases of EEE in humans in Latin America may be the result of ecologic changes that increased human contact with enzootic transmission cycles, genetic changes in EEE viral strains that resulted in increased human virulence, or an altered host range. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Secretaría Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación, Panama.)
Chemotherapy plus radiation treatment is effective in controlling
stage IA or IIA nonbulky Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 90% of patients but is
associated with late treatment-related deaths. Chemotherapy alone may
improve survival because it is associated with fewer late deaths.
We randomly assigned 405 patients with previously untreated stage IA
or IIA non-bulky Hodgkin’s lymphoma to treatment with doxorubicin,
bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) alone or to treatment with
subtotal nodal radiation therapy, with or without ABVD therapy. Patients in
the ABVD-only group, both those with a favorable risk profile and those with
an unfavorable risk profile, received four to six cycles of ABVD. Among
those assigned to subtotal nodal radiation therapy, patients who had a
favorable risk profile received subtotal nodal radiation therapy alone and
patients with an unfavorable risk profile received two cycles of ABVD plus
subtotal nodal radiation therapy. The primary end point was 12-year overall
The median length of follow-up was 11.3 years. At 12 years, the rate
of overall survival was 94% among those receiving ABVD alone, as compared
with 87% among those receiving subtotal nodal radiation therapy (hazard
ratio for death with ABVD alone, 0.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.25 to
0.99; P = 0.04); the rates of freedom from disease progression were 87% and
92% in the two groups, respectively (hazard ratio for disease progression,
1.91; 95% CI, 0.99 to 3.69; P = 0.05); and the rates of event-free survival
were 85% and 80%, respectively (hazard ratio for event, 0.88; 95% CI, 0.54
to 1.43; P = 0.60). Among the patients randomly assigned to ABVD alone, 6
patients died from Hodgkin’s lymphoma or an early treatment
complication and 6 died from another cause; among those receiving radiation
therapy, 4 deaths were related to Hodgkin’s lymphoma or early toxic
effects from the treatment and 20 were related to another cause.
Among patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, ABVD therapy alone, as
compared with treatment that included subtotal nodal radiation therapy, was
associated with a higher rate of overall survival owing to a lower rate of
death from other causes. (Funded by the Canadian Cancer Society and the
National Cancer Institute; HD.6 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00002561.)
The National Lung Screening Trial (NLST) used risk factors for lung cancer (e.g., ≥30 pack-years of smoking and <15 years since quitting) as selection criteria for lung-cancer screening. Use of an accurate model that incorporates additional risk factors to select persons for screening may identify more persons who have lung cancer or in whom lung cancer will develop.
We modified the 2011 lung-cancer risk-prediction model from our Prostate, Lung, Colorectal, and Ovarian (PLCO) Cancer Screening Trial to ensure applicability to NLST data; risk was the probability of a diagnosis of lung cancer during the 6-year study period. We developed and validated the model (PLCOM2012) with data from the 80,375 persons in the PLCO control and intervention groups who had ever smoked. Discrimination (area under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve [AUC]) and calibration were assessed. In the validation data set, 14,144 of 37,332 persons (37.9%) met NLST criteria. For comparison, 14,144 highest-risk persons were considered positive (eligible for screening) according to PLCOM2012 criteria. We compared the accuracy of PLCOM2012 criteria with NLST criteria to detect lung cancer. Cox models were used to evaluate whether the reduction in mortality among 53,202 persons undergoing low-dose computed tomographic screening in the NLST differed according to risk.
The AUC was 0.803 in the development data set and 0.797 in the validation data set. As compared with NLST criteria, PLCOM2012 criteria had improved sensitivity (83.0% vs. 71.1%, P<0.001) and positive predictive value (4.0% vs. 3.4%, P = 0.01), without loss of specificity (62.9% and. 62.7%, respectively; P = 0.54); 41.3% fewer lung cancers were missed. The NLST screening effect did not vary according to PLCOM2012 risk (P = 0.61 for interaction).
The use of the PLCOM2012 model was more sensitive than the NLST criteria for lung-cancer detection.
Arteriovenous graft stenosis leading to thrombosis is a major cause of complications in patients undergoing hemodialysis. Procedural interventions may restore patency but are costly. Although there is no proven pharmacologic therapy, dipyridamole may be promising because of its known vascular antiproliferative activity.
We conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of extended-release dipyridamole, at a dose of 200 mg, and aspirin, at a dose of 25 mg, given twice daily after the placement of a new arteriovenous graft until the primary outcome, loss of primary unassisted patency (i.e., patency without thrombosis or requirement for intervention), was reached. Secondary outcomes were cumulative graft failure and death. Primary and secondary outcomes were analyzed with the use of a Cox proportional-hazards regression with adjustment for prespecified covariates.
At 13 centers in the United States, 649 patients were randomly assigned to receive dipyridamole plus aspirin (321 patients) or placebo (328 patients) over a period of 4.5 years, with 6 additional months of follow-up. The incidence of primary unassisted patency at 1 year was 23% (95% confidence interval [CI], 18 to 28) in the placebo group and 28% (95% CI, 23 to 34) in the dipyridamole–aspirin group, an absolute difference of 5 percentage points. Treatment with dipyridamole plus aspirin significantly prolonged the duration of primary unassisted patency (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.68 to 0.98; P = 0.03) and inhibited stenosis. The incidences of cumulative graft failure, death, the composite of graft failure or death, and serious adverse events (including bleeding) did not differ significantly between study groups.
Treatment with dipyridamole plus aspirin had a significant but modest effect in reducing the risk of stenosis and improving the duration of primary unassisted patency of newly created grafts. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00067119.)
Congenital abnormalities of the kidney and the urinary tract are the most common cause of pediatric kidney failure. These disorders are highly heterogeneous, and the etiologic factors are poorly understood.
We performed genomewide linkage analysis and whole-exome sequencing in a family with an autosomal dominant form of congenital abnormalities of the kidney or urinary tract (seven affected family members). We also performed a sequence analysis in 311 unrelated patients, as well as histologic and functional studies.
Linkage analysis identified five regions of the genome that were shared among all affected family members. Exome sequencing identified a single, rare, deleterious variant within these linkage intervals, a heterozygous splice-site mutation in the dual serine–threonine and tyrosine protein kinase gene (DSTYK). This variant, which resulted in aberrant splicing of messenger RNA, was present in all affected family members. Additional, independent DSTYK mutations, including nonsense and splice-site mutations, were detected in 7 of 311 unrelated patients. DSTYK is highly expressed in the maturing epithelia of all major organs, localizing to cell membranes. Knockdown in zebrafish resulted in developmental defects in multiple organs, which suggested loss of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling. Consistent with this finding is the observation that DSTYK colocalizes with FGF receptors in the ureteric bud and metanephric mesenchyme. DSTYK knockdown in human embryonic kidney cells inhibited FGF-stimulated phosphorylation of extracellular-signal-regulated kinase (ERK), the principal signal downstream of receptor tyrosine kinases.
We detected independent DSTYK mutations in 2.3% of patients with congenital abnormalities of the kidney or urinary tract, a finding that suggests that DSTYK is a major determinant of human urinary tract development, downstream of FGF signaling. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.)
Guidelines for triaging patients for cardiac catheterization recommend a risk assessment and noninvasive testing. We determined patterns of noninvasive testing and the diagnostic yield of catheterization among patients with suspected coronary artery disease in a contemporary national sample.
From January 2004 through April 2008, at 663 hospitals in the American College of Cardiology National Cardiovascular Data Registry, we identified patients without known coronary artery disease who were undergoing elective catheterization. The patients’ demographic characteristics, risk factors, and symptoms and the results of noninvasive testing were correlated with the presence of obstructive coronary artery disease, which was defined as stenosis of 50% or more of the diameter of the left main coronary artery or stenosis of 70% or more of the diameter of a major epicardial vessel.
A total of 398,978 patients were included in the study. The median age was 61 years; 52.7% of the patients were men, 26.0% had diabetes, and 69.6% had hypertension. Noninvasive testing was performed in 83.9% of the patients. At catheterization, 149,739 patients (37.6%) had obstructive coronary artery disease. No coronary artery disease (defined as <20% stenosis in all vessels) was reported in 39.2% of the patients. Independent predictors of obstructive coronary artery disease included male sex (odds ratio, 2.70; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.64 to 2.76), older age (odds ratio per 5-year increment, 1.29; 95% CI, 1.28 to 1.30), presence of insulin-dependent diabetes (odds ratio, 2.14; 95% CI, 2.07 to 2.21), and presence of dyslipidemia (odds ratio, 1.62; 95% CI, 1.57 to 1.67). Patients with a positive result on a noninvasive test were moderately more likely to have obstructive coronary artery disease than those who did not undergo any testing (41.0% vs. 35.0%; P<0.001; adjusted odds ratio, 1.28; 95% CI, 1.19 to 1.37).
In this study, slightly more than one third of patients without known disease who underwent elective cardiac catheterization had obstructive coronary artery disease. Better strategies for risk stratification are needed to inform decisions and to increase the diagnostic yield of cardiac catheterization in routine clinical practice.
Immunosuppression is associated with a variety of idiopathic clinical syndromes that may have infectious causes. It has been hypothesized that the cord colitis syndrome, a complication of umbilical-cord hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation, is infectious in origin.
We performed shotgun DNA sequencing on four archived, paraffin-embedded endoscopic colon-biopsy specimens obtained from two patients with cord colitis. Computational subtraction of human and known microbial sequences and assembly of residual sequences into a bacterial draft genome were performed. We used polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) assays and fluorescence in situ hybridization to determine whether the corresponding bacterium was present in additional patients and controls.
DNA sequencing of the biopsy specimens revealed more than 2.5 million sequencing reads that did not match known organisms. These sequences were computationally assembled into a 7.65-Mb draft genome showing a high degree of homology with genomes of bacteria in the bradyrhizobium genus. The corresponding newly discovered bacterium was provisionally named Bradyrhizobium enterica. PCR identified B. enterica nucleotide sequences in biopsy specimens from all three additional patients with cord colitis whose samples were tested, whereas B. enterica sequences were absent in samples obtained from healthy controls and patients with colon cancer or graft-versus-host disease.
We assembled a novel bacterial draft genome from the direct sequencing of tissue specimens from patients with cord colitis. Association of these sequences with cord colitis suggests that B. enterica may be an opportunistic human pathogen. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.)
Pulmonary arterial hypertension is a devastating disease with high mortality. Familial cases of pulmonary arterial hypertension are usually characterized by autosomal dominant transmission with reduced penetrance, and some familial cases have unknown genetic causes.
We studied a family in which multiple members had pulmonary arterial hypertension without identifiable mutations in any of the genes known to be associated with the disease, including BMPR2, ALK1, ENG, SMAD9, and CAV1. Three family members were studied with whole-exome sequencing. Additional patients with familial or idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension were screened for the mutations in the gene that was identified on whole-exome sequencing. All variants were expressed in COS-7 cells, and channel function was studied by means of patch-clamp analysis.
We identified a novel heterozygous missense variant c.608 G→A (G203D) in KCNK3 (the gene encoding potassium channel subfamily K, member 3) as a disease-causing candidate gene in the family. Five additional heterozygous missense variants in KCNK3 were independently identified in 92 unrelated patients with familial pulmonary arterial hypertension and 230 patients with idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. We used in silico bioinformatic tools to predict that all six novel variants would be damaging. Electrophysiological studies of the channel indicated that all these missense mutations resulted in loss of function, and the reduction in the potassium-channel current was remedied by the application of the phospholipase inhibitor ONO-RS-082.
Our study identified the association of a novel gene, KCNK3, with familial and idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension. Mutations in this gene produced reduced potassium-channel current, which was successfully remedied by pharmacologic manipulation. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
Graves’ ophthalmopathy, also called Graves’ orbitopathy, is a potentially sight-threatening ocular disease that has puzzled physicians and scientists for nearly two centuries.1–3 Generally occurring in patients with hyperthyroidism or a history of hyperthyroidism due to Graves’ disease, Graves’ ophthalmopathy is also known as thyroid-associated ophthalmopathy or thyroid eye disease, because it sometimes occurs in patients with euthyroid or hypothyroid chronic autoimmune thyroiditis. The condition has an annual adjusted incidence rate of 16 women and 3 men per 100,000 population.4
This review explores the perplexing relationship between Graves’ ophthalmopathy, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid dermopathy, the associated skin condition. I examine clinical features, histologic findings, and laboratory studies, with an emphasis on mechanisms that could be targeted in the development of new treatments for this debilitating disease.
This article presents one viewpoint on the issues surrounding placebo-controlled trials in osteoporosis. The other Sounding Board article in this issue presents an opposing view. At NEJM.org, in a related interactive feature, the authors of each article give their Point of View about the other article. At NEJM.org, readers can participate in forming community opinion by choosing one of the viewpoints and, if they like, providing their reasons.
In the National Lung Screening Trial (NLST), screening with low-dose computed tomography (CT) resulted in a 20% reduction in lung-cancer mortality among participants between the ages of 55 and 74 years with a minimum of 30 pack-years of smoking and no more than 15 years since quitting. It is not known whether the benefits and potential harms of such screening vary according to lung-cancer risk.
We assessed the variation in efficacy, the number of false positive results, and the number of lung-cancer deaths prevented among 26,604 participants in the NLST who underwent low-dose CT screening, as compared with the 26,554 participants who underwent chest radiography, according to the quintile of 5-year risk of lung-cancer death (ranging from 0.15 to 0.55% in the lowest-risk group [quintile 1] to more than 2.00% in the highest-risk group [quintile 5]).
The number of lung-cancer deaths per 10,000 person-years that were prevented in the CT-screening group, as compared with the radiography group, increased according to risk quintile (0.2 in quintile 1, 3.5 in quintile 2, 5.1 in quintile 3, 11.0 in quintile 4, and 12.0 in quintile 5; P = 0.01 for trend). Across risk quintiles, there were significant decreasing trends in the number of participants with false positive results per screening-prevented lung-cancer death (1648 in quintile 1, 181 in quintile 2, 147 in quintile 3, 64 in quintile 4, and 65 in quintile 5). The 60% of participants at highest risk for lung-cancer death (quintiles 3 through 5) accounted for 88% of the screening-prevented lung-cancer deaths and for 64% of participants with false positive results. The 20% of participants at lowest risk (quintile 1) accounted for only 1% of prevented lung-cancer deaths.
Screening with low-dose CT prevented the greatest number of deaths from lung cancer among participants who were at highest risk and prevented very few deaths among those at lowest risk. These findings provide empirical support for risk-based targeting of smokers for such screening. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute.)
Genetic variants of the enzyme that metabolizes warfarin, cytochrome P-450 2C9 (CYP2C9), and of a key pharmacologic target of warfarin, vitamin K epoxide reductase (VKORC1), contribute to differences in patients’ responses to various warfarin doses, but the role of these variants during initial anticoagulation is not clear.
In 297 patients starting warfarin therapy, we assessed CYP2C9 genotypes (CYP2C9 *1, *2, and *3), VKORC1 haplotypes (designated A and non-A), clinical characteristics, response to therapy (as determined by the international normalized ratio [INR]), and bleeding events. The study outcomes were the time to the first INR within the therapeutic range, the time to the first INR of more than 4, the time above the therapeutic INR range, the INR response over time, and the warfarin dose requirement.
As compared with patients with the non-A/non-A haplotype, patients with the A/A haplotype of VKORC1 had a decreased time to the first INR within the therapeutic range (P = 0.02) and to the first INR of more than 4 (P = 0.003). In contrast, the CYP2C9 genotype was not a significant predictor of the time to the first INR within the therapeutic range (P = 0.57) but was a significant predictor of the time to the first INR of more than 4 (P = 0.03). Both the CYP2C9 genotype and VKORC1 haplotype had a significant influence on the required warfarin dose after the first 2 weeks of therapy.
Initial variability in the INR response to warfarin was more strongly associated with genetic variability in the pharmacologic target of warfarin, VKORC1, than with CYP2C9.
Only 20 years after the discovery of the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), a cure is now likely for most people affected by this chronic infection, which carries a substantial disease burden, not only in the United States but also worldwide.1 The recent approval of two direct-acting antiviral agents that specifically inhibit viral replication has dramatically increased the viral clearance rate, from less than 10% with the initial regimen of interferon monotherapy to more than 70% with current therapy. Moreover, many other drugs targeting viral or host factors are in development, and some will almost certainly be approved in the coming years. The questions of who should be treated and with what regimen will be increasingly complex to address and will require careful consideration. As therapy improves, systemwide identification and care of patients who need treatment will be the next challenge. Because most infected persons are unaware of their diagnosis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended screening for HCV all persons born between 1945 and 1965.2,3 It is anticipated that in the course of such a screening process, a large number of persons will be found to be infected with the virus; whether it will be possible to treat all these people is unclear. This article reviews the current therapy for HCV infection and the landscape of drug development.
Although androgen resistance has been characterized in men with a normal chromosome complement and mutations in the androgen-receptor gene, a mutation in the gene encoding estrogen receptor α (ESR1) was previously described only in one man and not, to our knowledge, in a woman. We now describe an 18-year-old woman without breast development and with markedly elevated serum levels of estrogens and bilateral multicystic ovaries. She was found to have a homozygous loss-offunction ESR1 mutation in a completely conserved residue that interferes with estrogen signaling. Her clinical presentation was similar to that in the mouse orthologue knockout. This case shows that disruption of ESR1 causes profound estrogen resistance in women. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health.)
Abiraterone acetate, an androgen biosynthesis inhibitor, improves overall survival (OS) in metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (mCRPC) post-chemotherapy. Many mCRPC patients never receive chemotherapy and thus cannot benefit from abiraterone acetate; we evaluated this agent in mCRPC patients who had not received chemotherapy.
In this double-blind study, 1088 patients were randomized 1:1 to abiraterone acetate (1000 mg) plus prednisone (5 mg twice daily) or placebo plus prednisone. Co-primary end points were radiographic progression-free survival (rPFS) and OS. Secondary end points measured clinically relevant landmarks of mCRPC progression. Patient-reported outcomes included pain progression and quality of life.
The study was unblinded after a planned interim analysis (IA) at 43% of OS events. Treatment with abiraterone acetate-prednisone resulted in a 57% reduction in the risk of radiographic progression or death (hazard ratio [HR], 0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.35 to 0.52; P<0.001; 13% OS events IA) and an estimated 25% decrease in the risk of death (HR, 0.75; 95% CI: 0.61 to 0.93; P=0.009; 43% OS events IA). Secondary end points supported superiority of abiraterone acetate-prednisone: time to cytotoxic chemotherapy initiation, opiate use for cancer-related pain, prostate-specific antigen progression (all P<0.001) and performance status deterioration (P=0.005). Self-reported time to pain progression and patient functional status degradation favored abiraterone acetate-prednisone (P=0.05 and P=0.003). Grade 3/4 mineralocorticoid-related adverse events and liver function test abnormalities were more common with abiraterone acetate-prednisone.
Abiraterone acetate produces OS and rPFS benefits, as well as significant delays in clinical deterioration and initiation of chemotherapy, in mCRPC.
Abiraterone acetate; prednisone; metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer; androgen; CYP17
The use of either efavirenz or lopinavir–ritonavir plus two nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs) is recommended for initial therapy for patients with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infection, but which of the two regimens has greater efficacy is not known. The alternative regimen of lopinavir–ritonavir plus efavirenz may prevent toxic effects associated with NRTIs.
In an open-label study, we compared three regimens for initial therapy: efavirenz plus two NRTIs (efavirenz group), lopinavir–ritonavir plus two NRTIs (lopinavir–ritonavir group), and lopinavir–ritonavir plus efavirenz (NRTI-sparing group). We randomly assigned 757 patients with a median CD4 count of 191 cells per cubic millimeter and a median HIV-1 RNA level of 4.8 log10 copies per milliliter to the three groups.
At a median follow-up of 112 weeks, the time to virologic failure was longer in the efavirenz group than in the lopinavir–ritonavir group (P = 0.006) but was not significantly different in the NRTI-sparing group from the time in either of the other two groups. At week 96, the proportion of patients with fewer than 50 copies of plasma HIV-1 RNA per milliliter was 89% in the efavirenz group, 77% in the lopinavir–ritonavir group, and 83% in the NRTI-sparing group (P = 0.003 for the comparison between the efavirenz group and the lopinavir–ritonavir group). The groups did not differ significantly in the time to discontinuation because of toxic effects. At virologic failure, antiretroviral resistance mutations were more frequent in the NRTI-sparing group than in the other two groups.
Virologic failure was less likely in the efavirenz group than in the lopinavir–ritonavir group. The virologic efficacy of the NRTI-sparing regimen was similar to that of the efavirenz regimen but was more likely to be associated with drug resistance. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00050895.)
The treatment of relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) has resulted in few durable remissions. Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK), an essential component of B-cell–receptor signaling, mediates interactions with the tumor microenvironment and promotes the survival and proliferation of CLL cells.
We conducted a phase 1b–2 multicenter study to assess the safety, efficacy, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics of ibrutinib (PCI-32765), a first-in-class, oral covalent inhibitor of BTK designed for treatment of B-cell cancers, in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL or small lymphocytic lymphoma. A total of 85 patients, the majority of whom were considered to have high-risk disease, received ibrutinib orally once daily; 51 received 420 mg, and 34 received 840 mg.
Toxic effects were predominantly grade 1 or 2 and included transient diarrhea, fatigue, and upper respiratory tract infection; thus, patients could receive extended treatment with minimal hematologic toxic effects. The overall response rate was the same in the group that received 420 mg and the group that received 840 mg (71%), and an additional 20% and 15% of patients in the respective groups had a partial response with lymphocytosis. The response was independent of clinical and genomic risk factors present before treatment, including advanced-stage disease, the number of previous therapies, and the 17p13.1 deletion. At 26 months, the estimated progression-free survival rate was 75% and the rate of overall survival was 83%.
Ibrutinib was associated with a high frequency of durable remissions in patients with relapsed or refractory CLL and small lymphocytic lymphoma, including patients with high-risk genetic lesions. (Funded by Pharmacyclics and others; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01105247.)