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ASH 2018 | Ruxolitinib plus corticosteroids in patients with steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease – The REACH1 trial

Dec 6, 2018

On Monday 3 December, an oral session was held and entitled: 722. Clinical Allogeneic Transplantation: Acute and Chronic GVHD, Immune Reconstitution: GVHD Treatment and Prevention Strategiesat the 60th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting, held in San Diego, California, from 1–4 December 2018. During this session, an oral abstract was presented by Madan Jagasiafrom Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN, USA. The title of the talk was: Results from REACH1, a Single-Arm Phase II Study of Ruxolitinib in Combination with Corticosteroids for the Treatment of Steroid-Refractory Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease ( Abstract #601).

The REACH1 study is a single-cohort, pivotal phase II study (NCT02953678) evaluating ruxolitinib in combination with corticosteroids in patients with steroid-refractory acute graft-versus-host disease (SR aGvHD). Ruxolitinib is an oral, Janus-associated kinase 1 and 2 inhibitor (JAK1, JAK2). The implications of JAK 1 and 2 inhibition, lead to decreased signaling of inflammatory mediators associated with graft-versus-host disease (GvHD), such as tumor necrosis factor and interleukins.

The primary outcome measure was overall response rate at day 28. Multiple secondary endpoints include 6-month duration of response, relapse of primary disease, non-relapse mortality, overall survival rates, and safety.

Patients and methods:

  • N = 71 patients
  • Median age = 58 years (range, 18–73)
  • All patients received ≥ 1 dose of ruxolitinib (69 of them received 5mg ruxolitinib twice daily)
  • N = 60 patients discontinued therapy due to adverse events (n = 20 patients), physician decision (n = 20 patients), progression of GvHD (n = 6 patients), withdrawal by participant (n = 3 patients), relapse of primary disease (n = 2 patients), other (n = 2 patients)
  • Graft source:
    • PBSC: 80.3%
    • Bone marrow: 18.3%
    • Umbilical cord blood: 1.4%
  • N = 23 patients (32.4%) had grade II aGvHD
  • N = 34 patients (47.9%) had grade III aGvHD
  • N = 14 patients (19.7%) had grade IV aGvHD
  • N = 36 patients (50.7%) had two or more organs involved
  • N = 19 patients (26.8%) had progression of aGvHD after 3 days of corticosteroid therapy
  • N = 30 patients (42.3%) did not respond after 7 days of corticosteroid administration
  • N = 8 patients (11.3%) had new organ involvement during steroid therapy at a dose of < 2 mg/kg
  • N = 14 patients (19.7%) were taper intolerant

Key findings:

  • Day-28 overall response rate: 54.9% (95% CI, 42.7–66.8)
  • Complete response: 19 patients (26.8%)
  • VGPR: 7 patients (9.9%)
  • PR: 13 patients (18.3%)
  • Response was observed in 52 patients (73.2%) at any time during treatment
  • Median duration of response was 345 days
  • Event-free probability estimates (95% CI) for day 28 responders at 3 and 6 months were 81.6% and 65.2%, respectively
  • Median overall survival: 232 days (95% CI, 93–not reached)
  • Four patients had relapsed
  • 8% (24/43) of patients had ≥50% reduction from baseline steroid use
  • Median steroid use: 156.3 mg/d at day 1 and 62.5mg/d at day 28
  • Treatment-emergent adverse events included anemia, hypokalemia, decreased platelet count, peripheral edema, and decreased neutrophil count
  • Cytomegalovirus infection (12.7%), viremia (5.6%), and chorioretinitis (1.4%) were observed

Professor Jagasia concluded that the results of the REACH1 trial demonstrate that ruxolitinib can improve outcomes of allogeneic transplant recipients who develop SR aGvHD. Ruxolitinib therapy led to an overall response rate of 54.9% by day 28, best overall response rate at any time during treatment resulted in a percentage of 73.2% (complete response: 56.3%). Responses were rapid and durable.

The randomized pivotal phase III studies in SR aGvHD (REACH2) and SR chronic GvHD (REACH3) are both underway.

To listen to Professor Jagasia discussing this study click here.

  1. Jagasia M . et al. Results from REACH1, a Single-Arm Phase II Study of Ruxolitinib in Combination with Corticosteroids for the Treatment of Steroid-Refractory Acute Graft-Versus-Host Disease. 2018 Dec 3. Abstract #601 : 60 thASH Annual Meeting and Exposition,San Diego, CA.