SILVER SPRING, Md., Aug. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) to treat Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and a rare lymphoma known as systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL).
Lymphomas are cancers of the lymphatic system. Adcetris is an antibody-drug conjugate that combines an antibody and drug, allowing the antibody to direct the drug to a target on lymphoma cells known as CD30.
Adcetris is to be used in patients with HL whose disease has progressed after autologous stem cell transplant or after two prior chemotherapy treatments for those who cannot receive a transplant. Autologous stem cell transplant is a procedure using a patient's own bone marrow that is designed to repair damaged bone marrow after the use of high chemotherapy doses. Adcetris may also be used in patients with ALCL whose disease has progressed after one prior chemotherapy treatment.
"Early clinical data suggest that patients who received Adcetris for Hodgkin lymphoma and systemic anaplastic lymphoma experienced a significant response to the therapy," said Richard Pazdur, M.D., director of the Office of Oncology Drug Products in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), common symptoms of HL include the enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen, fever, weight loss, fatigue, or night sweats. NCI estimates that 8,830 new cases of HL will be diagnosed in the United States in 2011 and about 1,300 people will die from the disease.
Systemic ALCL is a rare malignant tumor (non-Hodgkin lymphoma) that may appear in several parts of the body including the lymph nodes, skin, bones, soft tissue, lungs or liver, according to the NCI.
Adcetris is the first new FDA-approved treatment for HL since 1977 and the first specifically indicated to treat ALCL.