Ibrutinib (Imbruvica) will soon be listed on the PBS for Australians with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia or small lymphocytic lymphoma, the government has announced.
Patients who have relapsed or are refractory to at least one prior line of therapy and who are unsuitable for treatment with fludarabine will be able to access the subsidised treatment from 1 December at a cost of $38.80 per month, or $6.30 per month for patients with concession cards.
Associate Professor Constantine Tam, Disease Group Lead, Low Grade Lymphoma & CLL at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Director of Haematology at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and one of the doctors involved in clinical trials of the drug, described ibrutinib as a “paradigm” shift for how patients with CLL are treated.
“With Imbruvica, clinicians are better equipped to treat CLL when standard therapies fail to halt disease progression,” he said.
“The clinical results with Imbruvica are impressive, with the therapy inhibiting the cancer in many pre-treated patients where other treatments have failed,” he said.
A Phase III clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine showed ibrutinib (Imbruvica) significantly improved progression free survival, overall survival and overall response rates in patients with previously treated CLL compared with ofatumumab.