In a nutshell
This study looked at the risk of infections associated with ibrutinib (Imbruvica) used in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. Researchers found that patients receiving ibrutinib are at risk of serious infections.
Ibrutinib is a drug which targets certain proteins on cancer cells to stop them from working. It is often used for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). Because of this, it is important to assess the risk of infection linked to this drug treatment.
Methods & findings
378 patients with leukemia and lymphoma who received ibrutinib were analyzed in this study. Of these, 44% of patients had CLL, 16% had MCL and 13% had diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Eighty-four percent of all patients received ibrutinib with no other therapy. Serious infections were evaluated.
Serious infections developed in 43 (11.4%) patients during the first year of ibrutinib therapy. Of these, 31 patients (72.1%) were still on ibrutinib when they developed an infection. The other 12 patients (27.9%) developed infections within 30 days after stopping ibrutinib treatment.
23 (53.5%) of the 43 patients who developed infections had serious bacterial infections. 16 (37.2%) were fungal infections. 9.3% of patients developed viral infections, such as pneumonia and hepatitis B. Six (14%) of 43 patients died as a result of infection.
The bottom line
The study concluded that ibrutinib is associated with a risk of serious infection in patients with leukemia and lymphoma.
The fine print
The study notes a small sample size which may have affected the results of the study. Larger studies are required to confirm results.
Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about infection risk with ibrutinib.
Published By :
Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Aug 16, 2018