December 06, 2015
Ibrutinib (IMBRUVICA®) Combination Data Show Promise in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Multiple Myeloma
- Early combination data from Phase 1b/2 dose-finding study indicate potential efficacy in previously treated patients with multiple myeloma
- This release corresponds to abstract #377

NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Dec. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a global biopharmaceutical company, announced preliminary data from the ongoing Phase 1/2b PCYC-1119 trial suggesting that the combination of ibrutinib (IMBRUVICA®) plus carfilzomib with or without dexamethasone was well tolerated in relapsed or refractory patients with multiple myeloma (MM), with an initial objective response rate (ORR) of 62%. These data will be presented today in an oral presentation at the 57th Annual American Society of Hematology (ASH) Meeting and Exposition in Orlando, FL at 5:30 p.m. ET. IMBRUVICA is jointly developed and commercialized by Pharmacyclics LLC, an AbbVie Company, and Janssen Biotech, Inc.

MM is a blood cancer that most commonly arises from B cells, a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte) that originates in the bone marrow. This year, approximately 26,850 people will be diagnosed with the disease and about 11,240 will die.1

"Multiple myeloma can be a very difficult form of cancer to treat and many patients eventually relapse or become resistant to treatment with standard therapies," said Ajai Chari, M.D., Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of Clinical Research in the Multiple Myeloma Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, and lead study investigator.* "These initial data are encouraging as they suggest the combination of ibrutinib plus carfilzomib and dexamethasone has promising clinical potential, particularly in the primarily refractory patient population who participated in this study."

Thirty-nine patients were evaluable for efficacy and demonstrated a 62% ORR during early follow-up, with a clinical benefit rate (CBR) of 72%. Overall, the combination was well tolerated, with no dose-limiting toxicities observed during the dose escalation phase.

"As we continue to investigate the use of ibrutinib across a number of hematologic malignancies, multiple myeloma remains an area of great clinical need," said Thorsten Graef, M.D., Ph.D., Head of Hematology & Global Medical Safety at Pharmacyclics. "Many of these patients eventually relapse when treated with other traditional therapies, so new options are greatly needed. We are hopeful ibrutinib may help answer the call for new alternatives and look forward to continuing to follow its promising progress for the treatment of this disease."

The ongoing, multicenter, dose-escalation Phase 1/2b study evaluated the safety and efficacy of ibrutinib in combination with carfilzomib with or without dexamethasone in 40 relapsed or refractory MM patients. Patients received the combination across multiple dose levels during the Phase 1 portion, with no dose-limiting toxicities observed. Cohorts 2b (n=14; ibrutinib 560mg once daily plus carfilzomib and dexamethasone) and 3b (n=18; ibrutinib 840mg once daily plus carfilzomib and dexamethasone) was determined to be the recommended Phase 2 dose to further assess the safety and efficacy of the combination. In cohort 3b, the ORR was 65% and the CBR was 76%, including three very good partial responses and one stringent complete response.

The most common all grade non-hematologic adverse events (AEs in ≥20% of patients) across all cohorts in this study were diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, cough and nausea. Grade 3 or greater hematologic AEs (≥10% of patients) included hypertension, anemia, pneumonia, thrombocytopenia, diarrhea and fatigue. In addition, 12 patients discontinued treatment due to progressive disease, eight discontinued due to an AE and nine discontinued due to investigator or patient decision.

IMBRUVICA is currently approved for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who have received at least one prior therapy, CLL patients who have del 17p and patients with Waldenström's macroglobulinemia.2 IMBRUVICA is also approved for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) who have received at least one prior therapy. Accelerated approval was granted for the MCL indication based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.2

IMBRUVICA is a first-in-class, oral, once-daily therapy that inhibits a protein called Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK).2 IMBRUVICA was one of the first medicines to receive a U.S. FDA approval after being granted a Breakthrough Therapy Designation, and IMBRUVICA is one of the few therapies to receive three separate designations.

BTK is a key signaling molecule in the B-cell receptor signaling complex that plays an important role in the survival and spread of malignant B cells.2,3 IMBRUVICA blocks signals that tell malignant B cells to multiply and spread uncontrollably.2

IMBRUVICA is being studied alone and in combination with other treatments in several blood cancers. More than 6,100 patients have been treated in clinical trials of IMBRUVICA conducted in 35 countries by more than 800 investigators. Currently, 16 Phase 3 trials have been initiated with IMBRUVICA and 67 trials are registered on

To learn more about the medical terminology used in this news release, please visit

IMBRUVICA is indicated to treat people with:

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who have received at least one prior therapy
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with 17p deletion
  • Waldenström's macroglobulinemia
  • Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) who have received at least one prior therapy – accelerated approval was granted for this indication based on overall response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

Patients taking IMBRUVICA for CLL or WM should take 420 mg taken orally once daily (or three 140 mg capsules once daily).

Patients taking IMBRUVICA for MCL should take 560 mg taken orally once daily (or four 140 mg capsules once daily).

Capsules should be swallowed whole with a glass of water. Do not open, break or chew the capsules.


Hemorrhage - Fatal bleeding events have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. Grade 3 or higher bleeding events (subdural hematoma, gastrointestinal bleeding, hematuria, and post-procedural hemorrhage) have occurred in up to 6% of patients. Bleeding events of any grade, including bruising and petechiae, occurred in approximately half of patients treated with IMBRUVICA®.

The mechanism for the bleeding events is not well understood. IMBRUVICA® may increase the risk of hemorrhage in patients receiving antiplatelet or anticoagulant therapies. Consider the benefit-risk of withholding IMBRUVICA® for at least 3 to 7 days pre and post-surgery depending upon the type of surgery and the risk of bleeding.

Infections - Fatal and non-fatal infections have occurred with IMBRUVICA® therapy. Grade 3 or greater infections occurred in 14% to 26% of patients. Cases of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. Monitor patients for fever and infections and evaluate promptly.

Cytopenias - Treatment-emergent Grade 3 or 4 cytopenias including neutropenia (range, 19 to 29%), thrombocytopenia (range, 5 to 17%), and anemia (range, 0 to 9%) occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. Monitor complete blood counts monthly.

Atrial Fibrillation - Atrial fibrillation and atrial flutter (range, 6 to 9%) have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®, particularly in patients with cardiac risk factors, acute infections, and a previous history of atrial fibrillation. Periodically monitor patients clinically for atrial fibrillation. Patients who develop arrhythmic symptoms (e.g., palpitations, lightheadedness) or new-onset dyspnea should have an ECG performed. If atrial fibrillation persists, consider the risks and benefits of IMBRUVICA® treatment and dose modification.

Second Primary Malignancies - Other malignancies (range, 5 to 14%) including non-skin carcinomas (range, 1 to 3%) have occurred in patients treated with IMBRUVICA®. The most frequent second primary malignancy was non-melanoma skin cancer (range, 4 to 11%).

Tumor Lysis Syndrome - Tumor lysis syndrome has been reported with IMBRUVICA® therapy. Monitor patients closely and take appropriate precautions in patients at risk for tumor lysis syndrome (e.g., high tumor burden).

Embryo-Fetal Toxicity - Based on findings in animals, IMBRUVICA® can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise women to avoid becoming pregnant while taking IMBRUVICA®. If this drug is used during pregnancy or if the patient becomes pregnant while taking this drug, the patient should be apprised of the potential hazard to a fetus.

The most common adverse reactions (≥25%) in patients with B-cell malignancies (MCL, CLL, WM) were thrombocytopenia* (57%, 52%, 43%), neutropenia* (47%, 51%, 44%), diarrhea (51%, 48%, 37%), anemia* (41%, 36%, 13%), fatigue (41%, 28%, 21%), musculoskeletal pain (37%, 28%**, NA***), bruising (30%, 12%**, 16%**), nausea (31%, 26%, 21%), upper respiratory tract infection (34%, 16%, 19%), and rash (25%, 24%**, 22%**).

*Based on adverse reactions and/or laboratory measurements (noted as platelets, neutrophils, or hemoglobin decreased).

**Includes multiple ADR terms.
***Not applicable; no associated ADRs.

The most common Grade 3 or 4 non-hematological adverse reactions (≥5%) in MCL patients were pneumonia (7%), abdominal pain (5%), atrial fibrillation (5%), diarrhea (5%), fatigue (5%), and skin infections (5%).

Approximately 6% (CLL), 14% (MCL), and 11% (WM) of patients had a dose reduction due to adverse events.

Approximately 5% (CLL), 9% (MCL), and 6% (WM) of patients discontinued due to adverse events. Most frequent adverse events leading to discontinuation were infections, subdural hematomas, and diarrhea in CLL patients and subdural hematoma (1.8%) in MCL patients.

CYP3A Inhibitors - Avoid co-administration with strong and moderate CYP3A inhibitors. If a moderate CYP3A inhibitor must be used, reduce the IMBRUVICA® dose.

CYP3A Inducers - Avoid co-administration with strong CYP3A inducers.

Hepatic Impairment - Avoid use in patients with moderate or severe baseline hepatic impairment. In patients with mild impairment, reduce IMBRUVICA® dose.

Please see full Prescribing Information:

About Pharmacyclics, An AbbVie Company
Pharmacyclics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), is focused on developing and commercializing innovative small-molecule drugs for the treatment of cancer and immune-mediated diseases. Pharmacyclics' mission is to develop and commercialize novel therapies intended to improve quality of life, increase duration of life and resolve serious unmet medical needs.

Pharmacyclics markets IMBRUVICA and has two product candidates in clinical development and several preclinical molecules in lead optimization. Pharmacyclics is committed to high standards of ethics, scientific rigor and operational efficiency as it moves each of these programs toward commercialization. To learn more, please visit

About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-based biopharmaceutical company formed in 2013 following separation from Abbott Laboratories. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to develop and market advanced therapies that address some of the world's most complex and serious diseases. Together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Pharmacyclics, AbbVie employs more than 28,000 people worldwide and markets medicines in more than 170 countries. For further information on the company and its people, portfolio and commitments, please visit Follow @abbvie on Twitter or view careers on our Facebook or LinkedIn page.

Forward-Looking Statements
Some statements in this news release may be forward-looking statements for purposes of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The words "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "project" and similar expressions, among others, generally identify forward-looking statements. AbbVie cautions that these forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the likelihood that the transaction is consummated, the expected benefits of the transaction, challenges to intellectual property, competition from other products, difficulties inherent in the research and development process, adverse litigation or government action, and changes to laws and regulations applicable to our industry. Additional information about the economic, competitive, governmental, technological and other factors that may affect AbbVie's operations is set forth in Item 1A, "Risk Factors," in AbbVie's 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. AbbVie undertakes no obligation to release publicly any revisions to forward-looking statements as a result of subsequent events or developments, except as required by law.

* Disclaimer: Dr. Chari served as an investigator of this Pharmacyclics-sponsored clinical study. Dr. Chari does not have a financial interest in the company.

IMBRUVICA is a registered trademark of Pharmacyclics LLC

1 American Cancer Society. What are the key statistics about multiple myeloma. Available at: Accessed December 2015.
2 IMBRUVICA Prescribing Information, January 2015
3 Genetics Home Reference. Isolated growth hormone deficiency. Available at: Accessed December 2015.


For further information: Media: Erica Jefferson, Phone: 408-990-7313; Investors: Liz Shea, Phone: 847-935-2211; Physicians: U.S. Medical Information: Phone: 877-877-3536



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