FDA Approves Ruxolitinib for Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease

It is approved for steroid-refractory GVHD in adult and paediatric patients 12 years and older
28 May 2019

On 24 May 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ruxolitinib (JAKAFI, Incyte Corporation) for steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in adult and paediatric patients 12 years and older.

Approval was based on Study INCB 18424-271 (NCT02953678), an open-label, single-arm, multicentre study of ruxolitinib that enrolled 49 patients with steroid-refractory acute GVHD Grades 2 to 4 (Mount Sinai Acute GVHD International Consortium criteria) occurring after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Ruxolitinib was administered at 5 mg twice daily, and the dose could be increased to 10 mg twice daily after 3 days in the absence of toxicity. 

The trial’s primary endpoints were day-28 overall response rate (ORR) defined as complete response, very good partial response, or partial response by Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research criteria, and the response duration. Day-28 ORR was 100% for Grade 2 GVHD, 40.7% for Grade 3 GVHD, and 44.4% for Grade 4 GVHD. The median response duration, calculated from day-28 response to progression, new salvage therapy for acute GVHD, or death from any cause (with progression being defined as worsening by one stage in any organ without improvement in other organs in comparison to prior response assessment) was 16 days (95% CI: 9, 83), and the median time from day-28 response to either death or need for new therapy for acute GVHD (additional salvage therapy or increase in steroids) was 173 days (95% CI 66, NE).

In acute GVHD, the most common haematologic adverse reactions (incidence > 50%) are anaemia, thrombocytopenia, and neutropenia. The most common non-haematologic adverse reactions (incidence > 50%) are infections and oedema.

The recommended starting dose of ruxolitinib for GVHD is 5 mg given orally twice daily.

Full prescribing information for JAKAFI is available here.

FDA granted this application priority review.

Healthcare professionals should report all serious adverse events suspected to be associated with the use of any medicine and device to FDA’s MedWatch Reporting System.

Last update: 28 May 2019

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