SANTA MONICA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Kite, a Gilead Company (Nasdaq: GILD), today announced findings from two pre-planned, subgroup analyses of the landmark ZUMA-7 trial of Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel), which led to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recent expanded approval of Yescarta as initial treatment in adults with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL) that is refractory to first-line chemoimmunotherapy or that relapses within 12 months of first-line chemoimmunotherapy. These results include an analysis of clinical and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) in patients aged 65 or older, as well as an exploratory analysis of the association of pre-treatment tumor characteristics with clinical outcomes in patients with both low and high tumor burden and elevated and non-elevated lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). The data were presented today at the 2022 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting (Abstracts #7548 and #7565).
“Patients with large B-cell lymphoma aged 65 and above are at higher risk of not being eligible for or able to tolerate the standard of care, which can lead to poorer outcomes and health-related quality of life,” said Jason Westin, MD, MS, FACP, ZUMA-7 Principal Investigator, Director, Lymphoma Clinical Research, and Associate Professor, Department of Lymphoma/Myeloma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. “These data demonstrate that older patients, who are frequently considered transplant-ineligible based on age, can safely receive second-line CAR T-cell therapy with curative intent.”
In the ZUMA-7 sub-analysis of patients aged 65 and older, the primary endpoint of event-free survival (EFS) demonstrated that Yescarta (n=51) was superior to SOC (salvage chemoimmunotherapy followed by high-dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant in those who respond; n=58; Hazard Ratio [HR], 0.276; descriptive P<0.0001), with over eight-fold greater median EFS (21.5 months vs 2.5 months) and over three-fold greater estimated 24-month EFS rate (47.8% vs 15.1%). Objective response rate (ORR) was higher with Yescarta vs. SOC (88% vs 52%; Odds Ratio: 8.81; descriptive P<0.0001). Complete response (CR) rates in the Yescarta group were over double that of the SOC group (75% vs 33%). Overall survival (OS), evaluated as a preplanned interim analysis, was prolonged in the Yescarta arm compared with the SOC arm (HR, 0.517). Fifty-seven percent of patients in the SOC arm received subsequent cellular immunotherapy (off protocol).
Yescarta also showed meaningful improvement in quality of life (QoL) over SOC with faster recovery to pre-treatment quality of life among patients 65 years of age or older. Among those evaluable for the PRO portion of the study, Yescarta (n=46) showed clinically meaningful differences in QoL at Day 100 compared to patients receiving SOC (n=42) for three prespecified PRO domains (European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer [EORTC] Quality of Life Questionnaire [QLQ]-C30 Global Health Status/QOL, EORTC QLQ-C30 Physical Functioning, and EQ-5D-5L visual analog scale [VAS]). For all three domains, scores continued to favor Yescarta over SOC at Day 150 (descriptive P<0.05).
The safety profile of Yescarta was consistent with previous studies and real-world data in patients of all ages. Rates of cytokine release syndrome (CRS) and neurologic events (NE) for patients 65 and older were slightly higher than those observed in the overall patient population. Notably, compared with SOC patients, more Yescarta patients had high-risk features at baseline, including second-line age-adjusted International Prognostic Index (IPI) 2-3 (53% vs 31%), elevated LDH (61% vs 41%), and high grade B‑cell lymphoma (including double/triple-hit‑ lymphoma (33% vs 14%)).
“The consistent benefit of Yescarta over standard of care in the second-line setting in higher-risk patients, such as those aged 65+ and those with high tumor burden or LDH, can provide additional confidence to physicians that Yescarta should be considered the new standard of care as initial treatment for relapsed/refractory LBCL,” said Frank Neumann, MD, PhD, SVP & Global Head of Clinical Development, Kite.
In a separate exploratory analysis of pre-treatment tumor characteristics including tumor burden and LDH, EFS was superior for Yescarta compared to SOC for patients with high and low pre-treatment tumor burden (HR, 0.29 and 0.49, respectively; descriptive P<0.001 for both) and elevated and non-elevated LDH (HR, 0.32 and 0.5, respectively; descriptive P<0.001 for both). EFS in Yescarta patients was not significantly different for patients with high or low pre-treatment tumor burden (HR, 0.92; descriptive P=0.68) or elevated and non-elevated LDH (HR, 1.11; descriptive P=0.61), but was worse in patients who received SOC with high pre-treatment tumor burden (HR, 1.51; descriptive P=0.02) or elevated LDH (HR, 1.56; descriptive P=0.01). Durable responses with Yescarta were greatest in tumors with prominent B-cell features, but were superior to SOC regardless of these features.
“High tumor burden and elevated LDH levels are typically associated with poorer outcomes, especially when patients have exhausted treatment options,” said Frederick L. Locke, MD, ZUMA-7 Principal Investigator and Co-Leader of the Immuno-Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, Florida. “These are factors that clinicians take into consideration when determining eligibility for standard of care in the second-line setting as well as CAR T-cell therapy in the third-line setting. In this analysis, response rates to axi-cel in the second-line setting were consistent regardless of level of tumor burden or LDH, which reaffirms that axi-cel should be considered the new standard of care in this earlier setting.”
Yescarta was the first CAR T-cell therapy to be approved by the FDA for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory LBCL after two or more lines of systemic therapy. Yescarta was also approved by the FDA in April 2022 as the first CAR T-cell therapy for adult patients with LBCL that is refractory to first-line chemoimmunotherapy or that relapses within 12 months of first-line chemoimmunotherapy. The Yescarta U.S. Prescribing Information has a BOXED WARNING for the risks of CRS and neurologic toxicities, and Yescarta is approved with a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) due to these risks; see below for Important Safety Information.
Globally, LBCL is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). In the United States, more than 18,000 people are diagnosed with LBCL each year. About 30-40% of patients with LBCL will need second-line treatment, as their cancer will either relapse (return) or become refractory (not respond) to initial treatment.
Please see full Prescribing Information, including BOXED WARNING and Medication Guide.
YESCARTA is a CD19-directed genetically modified autologous T cell immunotherapy indicated for the treatment of:
- Adult patients with large B-cell lymphoma that is refractory to first-line chemoimmunotherapy or that relapses within 12 months of first-line chemoimmunotherapy.
Adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma after two or more lines of systemic therapy, including diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) not otherwise specified, primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma, high grade B-cell lymphoma, and DLBCL arising from follicular lymphoma.
Limitations of Use: YESCARTA is not indicated for the treatment of patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma.
- Adult patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma (FL) after two or more lines of systemic therapy. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on response rate. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trial(s).
U.S. IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
BOXED WARNING: CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME AND NEUROLOGIC TOXICITIES
- Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving YESCARTA. Do not administer YESCARTA to patients with active infection or inflammatory disorders. Treat severe or life-threatening CRS with tocilizumab or tocilizumab and corticosteroids.
- Neurologic toxicities, including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred in patients receiving YESCARTA, including concurrently with CRS or after CRS resolution. Monitor for neurologic toxicities after treatment with YESCARTA. Provide supportive care and/or corticosteroids as needed.
- YESCARTA is available only through a restricted program under a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) called the YESCARTA and TECARTUS REMS Program.
CYTOKINE RELEASE SYNDROME (CRS)
CRS, including fatal or life-threatening reactions, occurred. CRS occurred in 90% (379/422) of patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), including ≥ Grade 3 in 9%. CRS occurred in 93% (256/276) of patients with large B-cell lymphoma (LBCL), including ≥ Grade 3 in 9%. Among patients with LBCL who died after receiving YESCARTA, 4 had ongoing CRS events at the time of death. For patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1, the median time to onset of CRS was 2 days following infusion (range: 1-12 days) and the median duration was 7 days (range: 2-58 days). For patients with LBCL in ZUMA-7, the median time to onset of CRS was 3 days following infusion (range: 1-10 days) and the median duration was 7 days (range: 2-43 days). CRS occurred in 84% (123/146) of patients with indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL) in ZUMA-5, including ≥ Grade 3 in 8%. Among patients with iNHL who died after receiving YESCARTA, 1 patient had an ongoing CRS event at the time of death. The median time to onset of CRS was 4 days (range: 1-20 days) and median duration was 6 days (range: 1-27 days) for patients with iNHL.
Key manifestations of CRS (≥ 10%) in all patients combined included fever (85%), hypotension (40%), tachycardia (32%), chills (22%), hypoxia (20%), headache (15%), and fatigue (12%). Serious events that may be associated with CRS include cardiac arrhythmias (including atrial fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia), renal insufficiency, cardiac failure, respiratory failure, cardiac arrest, capillary leak syndrome, multi-organ failure, and hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis/macrophage activation syndrome.
The impact of tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids on the incidence and severity of CRS was assessed in 2 subsequent cohorts of LBCL patients in ZUMA-1. Among patients who received tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids for ongoing Grade 1 events, CRS occurred in 93% (38/41), including 2% (1/41) with Grade 3 CRS; no patients experienced a Grade 4 or 5 event. The median time to onset of CRS was 2 days (range: 1-8 days) and the median duration of CRS was 7 days (range: 2-16 days). Prophylactic treatment with corticosteroids was administered to a cohort of 39 patients for 3 days beginning on the day of infusion of YESCARTA. Thirty-one of the 39 patients (79%) developed CRS and were managed with tocilizumab and/or therapeutic doses of corticosteroids with no patients developing ≥ Grade 3 CRS. The median time to onset of CRS was 5 days (range: 1-15 days) and the median duration of CRS was 4 days (range: 1-10 days). Although there is no known mechanistic explanation, consider the risk and benefits of prophylactic corticosteroids in the context of pre-existing comorbidities for the individual patient and the potential for the risk of Grade 4 and prolonged neurologic toxicities.
Ensure that 2 doses of tocilizumab are available prior to YESCARTA infusion. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of CRS at least daily for 7 days at the certified healthcare facility, and for 4 weeks thereafter. Counsel patients to seek immediate medical attention should signs or symptoms of CRS occur at any time. At the first sign of CRS, institute treatment with supportive care, tocilizumab, or tocilizumab and corticosteroids as indicated.
Neurologic toxicities (including immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome) that were fatal or life-threatening occurred. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 78% (330/422) of all patients with NHL receiving YESCARTA, including ≥ Grade 3 in 25%. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 87% (94/108) of patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1, including ≥ Grade 3 in 31% and in 74% (124/168) of patients in ZUMA-7 including ≥ Grade 3 in 25%. The median time to onset was 4 days (range: 1-43 days) and the median duration was 17 days for patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1. The median time to onset for neurologic toxicity was 5 days (range: 1-133 days) and median duration was 15 days in patients with LBCL in ZUMA-7. Neurologic toxicities occurred in 77% (112/146) of patients with iNHL, including ≥ Grade 3 in 21%. The median time to onset was 6 days (range: 1-79 days) and the median duration was 16 days. Ninety-eight percent of all neurologic toxicities in patients with LBCL and 99% of all neurologic toxicities in patients with iNHL occurred within the first 8 weeks of YESCARTA infusion. Neurologic toxicities occurred within the first 7 days of infusion for 87% of affected patients with LBCL and 74% of affected patients with iNHL.
The most common neurologic toxicities (≥ 10%) in all patients combined included encephalopathy (50%), headache (43%), tremor (29%), dizziness (21%), aphasia (17%), delirium (15%), and insomnia (10%). Prolonged encephalopathy lasting up to 173 days was noted. Serious events, including aphasia, leukoencephalopathy, dysarthria, lethargy, and seizures occurred. Fatal and serious cases of cerebral edema and encephalopathy, including late-onset encephalopathy, have occurred.
The impact of tocilizumab and/or corticosteroids on the incidence and severity of neurologic toxicities was assessed in 2 subsequent cohorts of LBCL patients in ZUMA-1. Among patients who received corticosteroids at the onset of Grade 1 toxicities, neurologic toxicities occurred in 78% (32/41) and 20% (8/41) had Grade 3 neurologic toxicities; no patients experienced a Grade 4 or 5 event. The median time to onset of neurologic toxicities was 6 days (range: 1-93 days) with a median duration of 8 days (range: 1-144 days). Prophylactic treatment with corticosteroids was administered to a cohort of 39 patients for 3 days beginning on the day of infusion of YESCARTA. Of those patients, 85% (33/39) developed neurologic toxicities, 8% (3/39) developed Grade 3, and 5% (2/39) developed Grade 4 neurologic toxicities. The median time to onset of neurologic toxicities was 6 days (range: 1-274 days) with a median duration of 12 days (range: 1-107 days). Prophylactic corticosteroids for management of CRS and neurologic toxicities may result in higher grade of neurologic toxicities or prolongation of neurologic toxicities, delay the onset and decrease the duration of CRS.
Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of neurologic toxicities at least daily for 7 days at the certified healthcare facility, and for 4 weeks thereafter, and treat promptly.
Because of the risk of CRS and neurologic toxicities, YESCARTA is available only through a restricted program called the YESCARTA and TECARTUS REMS Program which requires that: Healthcare facilities that dispense and administer YESCARTA must be enrolled and comply with the REMS requirements and must have on-site, immediate access to a minimum of 2 doses of tocilizumab for each patient for infusion within 2 hours after YESCARTA infusion, if needed for treatment of CRS. Certified healthcare facilities must ensure that healthcare providers who prescribe, dispense, or administer YESCARTA are trained about the management of CRS and neurologic toxicities. Further information is available at www.YescartaTecartusREMS.com or 1-844-454-KITE (5483).
Allergic reactions, including serious hypersensitivity reactions or anaphylaxis, may occur with the infusion of YESCARTA.
Severe or life-threatening infections occurred. Infections (all grades) occurred in 45% of patients with NHL. ≥ Grade 3 infections occurred in 17% of patients, including ≥ Grade 3 infections with an unspecified pathogen in 12%, bacterial infections in 5%, viral infections in 3%, and fungal infections in 1%. YESCARTA should not be administered to patients with clinically significant active systemic infections. Monitor patients for signs and symptoms of infection before and after infusion and treat appropriately. Administer prophylactic antimicrobials according to local guidelines.
Febrile neutropenia was observed in 36% of all patients with NHL and may be concurrent with CRS. In the event of febrile neutropenia, evaluate for infection and manage with broad-spectrum antibiotics, fluids, and other supportive care as medically indicated.
In immunosuppressed patients, including those who have received YESCARTA, life-threatening and fatal opportunistic infections including disseminated fungal infections (e.g., candida sepsis and aspergillus infections) and viral reactivation (e.g., human herpes virus-6 [HHV-6] encephalitis and JC virus progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy [PML]) have been reported. The possibility of HHV-6 encephalitis and PML should be considered in immunosuppressed patients with neurologic events and appropriate diagnostic evaluations should be performed.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) reactivation, in some cases resulting in fulminant hepatitis, hepatic failure, and death, can occur in patients treated with drugs directed against B cells, including YESCARTA. Perform screening for HBV, HCV, and HIV in accordance with clinical guidelines before collection of cells for manufacturing.
Patients may exhibit cytopenias for several weeks following lymphodepleting chemotherapy and YESCARTA infusion. ≥ Grade 3 cytopenias not resolved by Day 30 following YESCARTA infusion occurred in 39% of all patients with NHL and included neutropenia (33%), thrombocytopenia (13%), and anemia (8%). Monitor blood counts after infusion.
HYPOGAMMAGLOBULINEMIA B-cell aplasia and hypogammaglobulinemia can occur. Hypogammaglobulinemia was reported as an adverse reaction in 14% of all patients with NHL. Monitor immunoglobulin levels after treatment and manage using infection precautions, antibiotic prophylaxis, and immunoglobulin replacement. The safety of immunization with live viral vaccines during or following YESCARTA treatment has not been studied. Vaccination with live virus vaccines is not recommended for at least 6 weeks prior to the start of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, during YESCARTA treatment, and until immune recovery following treatment.
Secondary malignancies may develop. Monitor life-long for secondary malignancies. In the event that one occurs, contact Kite at 1-844-454-KITE (5483) to obtain instructions on patient samples to collect for testing.
EFFECTS ON ABILITY TO DRIVE AND USE MACHINES
Due to the potential for neurologic events, including altered mental status or seizures, patients are at risk for altered or decreased consciousness or coordination in the 8 weeks following YESCARTA infusion. Advise patients to refrain from driving and engaging in hazardous occupations or activities, such as operating heavy or potentially dangerous machinery, during this initial period.
The most common non-laboratory adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) in patients with LBCL in ZUMA-7 included fever, CRS, fatigue, hypotension, encephalopathy, tachycardia, diarrhea, headache, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, febrile neutropenia, chills, cough, infection with unspecified pathogen, dizziness, tremor, decreased appetite, edema, hypoxia, abdominal pain, aphasia, constipation, and vomiting.
The most common adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) in patients with LBCL in ZUMA-1 included CRS, fever, hypotension, encephalopathy, tachycardia, fatigue, headache, decreased appetite, chills, diarrhea, febrile neutropenia, infections with pathogen unspecified, nausea, hypoxia, tremor, cough, vomiting, dizziness, constipation, and cardiac arrhythmias.
The most common non-laboratory adverse reactions (incidence ≥ 20%) in patients with iNHL in ZUMA-5 included fever, CRS, hypotension, encephalopathy, fatigue, headache, infections with pathogen unspecified, tachycardia, febrile neutropenia, musculoskeletal pain, nausea, tremor, chills, diarrhea, constipation, decreased appetite, cough, vomiting, hypoxia, arrhythmia, and dizziness.
Kite, a Gilead Company, is a global biopharmaceutical company based in Santa Monica, California, with manufacturing operations in North America and Europe. Kite’s singular focus is cell therapy to treat and potentially cure cancer. As the cell therapy leader, Kite has more approved CAR T indications to help more patients than any other company. For more information on Kite, please visit www.kitepharma.com.
About Gilead Sciences
Gilead Sciences, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company that has pursued and achieved breakthroughs in medicine for more than three decades, with the goal of creating a healthier world for all people. The company is committed to advancing innovative medicines to prevent and treat life-threatening diseases, including HIV, viral hepatitis and cancer. Gilead operates in more than 35 countries worldwide, with headquarters in Foster City, California.
This press release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, including the ability of Kite and Gilead to initiate, progress or complete clinical trials within currently anticipated timelines or at all, and the possibility of unfavorable results from ongoing or additional clinical trials, including those involving Yescarta; the risk that physicians and patients may not see the potential benefits of Yescarta; and any assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. These and other risks, uncertainties and other factors are described in detail in Gilead’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks, uncertainties and other factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those referred to in the forward-looking statements. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties, and is cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to Kite and Gilead, and Kite and Gilead assume no obligation and disclaim any intent to update any such forward-looking statements.
Kite, the Kite logo, Yescarta, Tecartus, XLP and GILEAD are trademarks of Gilead Sciences, Inc. or its related companies.