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GEN News Highlights : Jul 18, 2013

Celgene Halts a Phase III B-Cell CLL Trial Because of Deaths

Celgene today said that after a consultation with the FDA it will stop administering Revlimid® (lenalidomide) in its open-label, Phase III ORIGIN® trial because of patient deaths.

“An imbalance was observed in the number of deaths in patients treated with lenalidomide versus patients treated with chlorambucil,” Celgene said.

The trial, which FDA placed on clinical hold July 12, was intended to evaluate the efficacy and safety of lenalidomide versus chlorambucil as single agent in elderly patients 65 and older with B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), plus comorbidities that precluded treatment with more aggressive standard chemo-immunotherapies.

The firm noted that, in this particular trial, there were 34 deaths out of 210 patients in the lenalidomide arm compared with 18 deaths out of 211 patients in the chlorambucil group. It added that “all other Celgene-sponsored chronic lymphocytic leukemia clinical trials with lenalidomide are continuing in accordance with their respective protocols.”

Revlimid is approved in the US for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma whose disease has relapsed or progressed after two prior therapies. The drug is also approved in the US, Canada Switzerland, Australia, and New Zealand, Malaysia, Israel, and “several Latin American countries”—according to Celgene—for the treatment of transfusion-dependent anemia due to low- or intermediate-1-risk MDS associated with a deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality with or without additional cytogenetic abnormalities. In Europe, the drug is also approved for the treatment of similar patients with an isolated deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality when other therapeutic options are insufficient or inadequate. Revlimid is not approved as a CLL treatment.