Systemic Exposure of Rituximab Increased by Ibrutinib: Pharmacokinetic Results and Modeling Based on the HELIOS Trial
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INTRODUCTION: In the HELIOS trial, bendamustine/rituximab (BR) plus ibrutinib (BR-I) improved disease outcomes versus BR plus placebo in previously treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma. Here, we describe the pharmacokinetic (PK) observations, along with modeling to further explore the interaction between ibrutinib and rituximab. METHODS: 578 subjects were randomized to ibrutinib or placebo with BR (6 cycles). Ibrutinib PK samples and tumor measurements were obtained from all subjects; a subset was evaluated for bendamustine and rituximab PK. Population rituximab PK was assessed using nonlinear mixed-effects modeling. RESULTS: Dose-normalized plasma concentration-time bendamustine data were comparable between the arms. Systemic rituximab exposure was higher with BR-I versus BR; mean trough serum concentrations were 2- to 3-fold higher in the first three cycles and 1.2- to 1.7-fold higher subsequently. No relevant safety differences were observed. In the modeling, including treatment arm as a categorical covariate and tumor burden as a continuous time-varying covariate on overall rituximab clearance significantly improved fitting of the data. CONCLUSIONS: BR-I led to higher dose-normalized systemic rituximab exposure versus BR and more rapid steady-state achievement. The modeling data suggest that rituximab disposition is, at least in part, target mediated. Determining the clinical significance of these findings requires further assessments. TRIAL REGISTRATION: This study is registered at https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01611090 .
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