by Health Editorial Staff
A new drug against these two forms of onco-haematological cancer which belong to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas has been authorized by the Italian Medicines Agency
An additional therapeutic weapon against chronic lymphocytic leukemia and marginal zone lymphoma, two forms of onco-hematological tumors that belong to Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. The Italian Medicines Agency (Aifa) has authorized the drug Zanubrutinib in band H (provided in hospital facilities – ed.), an inhibitor molecule of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) discovered by BeiGene scientists.
The medicine, as monotherapy, is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and for the treatment of adult patients with marginal zone lymphoma who have received at least one previous therapy based on anti-CD20 antibodies.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia is among the most common forms of leukemia: it affects around three thousand people every year, especially elderly people (on average 70 years old). This is a type of mature B-cell tumor in which a type of white blood cell, abnormal B lymphocytes, is generated in the bone marrow and spreads to the peripheral blood, bone marrow, and lymphoid tissues.
Francesca Romana Mauro, associate professor at the Institute of Hematology of the Department of Translational and Precision Medicine of the La Sapienza University of Rome, says: «The approval of zanubrutinib by Aifa marks an important stage for patients suffering from lymphocytic leukemia chronic disease and for their doctors, who today have a new oral, biological drug with a favorable safety profile – given the very reduced risk of cardiac complications – to treat their patients. This new generation BTK inhibitor has demonstrated not only high therapeutic efficacy but also tolerability and safety, essential characteristics for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who are candidates for long-term continuous treatment.”
Marginal zone lymphoma
Marginal zone lymphoma is a group of very rare, slow-growing B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas that arise in the marginal zones of lymphatic tissue.
The neoplasm originates from B lymphocytes found in the marginal zone of the secondary lymphoid follicles present in the spleen, in the lymphoid tissues associated with the mucous membranes, such as the tonsils, and in the lymph nodes. It can occur at any age, but is more frequent in the elderly population, between the ages of 60 and 70.
Zanubrutinib is the only BTK inhibitor approved in the European Union for marginal zone lymphoma, and now also by the Italian agency Aifa.
«The approval represents an important step forward for the treatment of patients with a rare neoplasm such as marginal zone lymphoma – explains Pier Luigi Zinzani, full professor of Hematology at the University of Bologna –. Having a drug like zanubrutinib available for oral use can help transform clinical practice for these patients, having demonstrated significant efficacy with high and long-lasting response rates in all subtypes of marginal zone lymphoma.”
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November 30, 2023 (modified November 30, 2023 | 6:23 pm)
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