Celgene Receives CHMP Positive Opinion for REVLIMID® (lenalidomide) in Combination With Rituximab for the Treatment of Adult Patients With Previously Treated Follicular Lymphoma

REVLIMID® and rituximab (R2) has the potential to become a chemotherapy-free combination treatment option for patients with follicular lymphoma who have relapsed or did not respond to previous treatment

The positive opinion was based on the results of the Phase 3 AUGMENT study, which showed the R2 regimen conferred a statistically significantly improvement in progression-free survival versus rituximab monotherapy

SUMMIT, NJ, USA I November 15, 2019 I Celgene Corporation (NASDAQ:CELG) today announced that the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) has adopted a positive opinion, recommending the approval of REVLIMID® (lenalidomide) in combination with rituximab (anti-CD20 antibody) (R²) for the treatment of adult patients with previously treated follicular lymphoma (FL) (Grade 1-3a). If approved by the European Commission (EC), R2 will be the first combination treatment regimen for patients with FL that does not include chemotherapy.

“Since its initial approval in 2007, REVLIMID has continued to demonstrate its benefits across a range of serious blood disorders in Europe and a CHMP positive opinion for this combination with rituximab is very good news for patients with follicular lymphoma. We look forward to the European Commission decision,” said Tuomo Pätsi, President of Hematology/Oncology for Celgene Worldwide Markets.

In FL, a subtype of indolent NHL, the immune system is not functioning optimally.1,2 When this dysfunction occurs, the immune system either fails to detect or attack cancerous cells.1,2 Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody that targets the CD 20 antigen on the surface of pre-B and mature B-lymphocytes. Upon binding to CD20, rituximab causes B-cell lysis. Lenalidomide is an immunomodulator that increases the number and activation of T and natural killer (NK) cells, resulting in the lysis of tumor cells. The R2 combination regimen acts by complementary mechanisms to help the patient’s immune system to find and destroy the cancer cells.3

Given the incurable nature of FL2, a high unmet medical need exists for the development of novel treatment options with new mechanisms of action and a tolerable safety profile to help improve progression-free survival (PFS) especially in the setting of previously treated FL.

The estimated incidence of NHL in Europe was 100,055 cases in 2018; FL accounts for approximately 25% of all NHL cases and is the most common form of indolent NHL.3,4,5

“Chemotherapy is a standard of care for indolent forms of NHL, but most patients will relapse or become refractory to their current treatment,” said Prof. John Gribben, President of EHA and Centre for Haemato-Oncology, Barts Cancer Institute, in England “The combination of REVLIMID and rituximab could represent a new, chemotherapy-free treatment option for patients with previously treated follicular lymphoma.”

The CHMP positive opinion is based primarily on results from the randomized, multi-center, double-blind, Phase 3 AUGMENT study, which evaluated the efficacy and safety of the R² combination versus rituximab plus placebo in patients with previously treated FL (n=295).6,7 Additionally, findings from the MAGNIFY study were included as support for the safety and the efficacy of lenalidomide plus rituximab in patients with relapsed or refractory FL, including rituximab refractory FL patients.8

The CHMP reviews applications for all member states of the European Union (EU), as well as Norway, Liechtenstein, and Iceland. The European Commission, which generally follows the recommendation of the CHMP, is expected to make its final decision in approximately two months. If approval is granted, detailed conditions for the use of this product will be described in the REVLIMID Summary of Product Characteristics (SmPC), which will be published in the revised European Public Assessment Report (EPAR).

About Follicular Lymphoma

Lymphoma is a blood cancer that develops in lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell in the immune system that helps protect the body from infection.9 There are two classes of lymphoma – Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) – each with specific subtypes that determine how the cancer behaves, spreads and should be treated.3,10,11 Other differentiating factors of lymphomas are what type of lymphocyte is affected (T cell or B cell) and how mature the cells are when they become cancerous.11

Follicular lymphoma is the most common indolent (slow-growing) form of NHL, accounting for approximately 25% of all Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) patients.5,12 Most patients present with advanced disease usually when lymphoma-related symptoms appear (e.g., nodal disease, B symptoms, cytopenia) and receive systemic chemoimmunotherapy.5 While follicular lymphoma patients are generally responsive to initial treatment, the disease course is characterized by recurrent relapses over time with shorter remission periods.13


AUGMENT is a Phase 3, randomized, double-blind clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and safety of REVLIMID® (lenalidomide) in combination with rituximab (R²) versus rituximab plus placebo in patients with previously treated follicular lymphoma (FL). AUGMENT included patients diagnosed with Grade 1, 2 or 3a FL, who were previously treated with at least 1 prior systemic therapy and two previous doses of rituximab. Patients were documented relapsed, refractory or progressive disease following systemic therapy, but were not rituximab-refractory.6,7

The primary endpoint was progression-free survival, defined as the time from date of randomization to the first observation of disease progression or death due to any cause. Secondary and exploratory endpoints included overall response rate, durable complete response rate, complete response rate, duration of response, duration of complete response, overall survival, event-free survival and time to next anti-lymphoma therapy.6,7


REVLIMID is approved in Europe and the United States as monotherapy, indicated for the maintenance treatment of adult patients with newly diagnosed multiple myeloma (MM) who have undergone autologous stem cell transplantation. REVLIMID as combination therapy is approved in Europe, in the United States, in Japan and in around 25 other countries for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated MM who are not eligible for transplant. REVLIMID is also approved in combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of patients with MM who have received at least one prior therapy in nearly 70 countries, encompassing Europe, the Americas, the Middle-East and Asia, and in combination with dexamethasone for the treatment of patients whose disease has progressed after one therapy in Australia and New Zealand.

REVLIMID is also approved in the United States, Canada, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand and several Latin American countries, as well as Malaysia and Israel, for transfusion-dependent anaemia due to low- or intermediate-1-risk myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) associated with a deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality with or without additional cytogenetic abnormalities and in Europe for the treatment of patients with transfusion-dependent anemia due to low- or intermediate-1-risk MDS associated with an isolated deletion 5q cytogenetic abnormality when other therapeutic options are insufficient or inadequate.

In addition, REVLIMID is approved in Europe for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and in the United States for the treatment of patients with MCL whose disease has relapsed or progressed after two prior therapies, one of which included bortezomib. In Switzerland, REVLIMID is indicated for the treatment of patients with relapsed or refractory MCL after prior therapy that included bortezomib and chemotherapy/rituximab.

REVLIMID is not indicated and is not recommended for the treatment of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) outside of controlled clinical trials.

About Celgene

Celgene Corporation, headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, is an integrated global biopharmaceutical company engaged primarily in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative therapies for the treatment of cancer and inflammatory diseases through next-generation solutions in protein homeostasis, immuno-oncology, epigenetics, immunology and neuro-inflammation. For more information, please visit www.celgene.com. Follow Celgene on Social Media: @Celgene, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook and YouTube.

1 Scott DW, Gascoyne RD. The tumour microenvironment in B cell lymphomas. Nat Rev Cancer. 2014;14(8):517-534.
2 Kridel R, Sehn LH, Gascoyne RD. Pathogenesis of follicular lymphoma. J Clin Invest. 2012;122(10):3424-3431.
3 Chiu H, Trisal P, Bjorklund C, et al. Combination lenalidomide-rituximab immunotherapy activates anti-tumour immunity and induces tumour cell death by complementary mechanisms of action in follicular lymphoma. Br J Haematol. 2019;185(2):240-253.
4 European Cancer Information System. Estimates of cancer incidence and mortality in 2018, for all countries. Available at: https://ecis.jrc.ec.europa.eu/explorer.php. Accessed August 2019.
5 European Society for Medical Oncology. Follicular Lymphoma: A Guide for Patients. 2014. Available at: https://www.esmo.org/content/download/52236/963497/file/EN-Follicular-Lymphoma-Guide-for-Patients.pdf . Accessed September 2019.
6 Leonard JP, Trneny M, Izutsu K, et al. AUGMENT: A Phase III Study of Lenalidomide Plus Rituximab Versus Placebo Plus Rituximab in Relapsed or Refractory Indolent Lymphoma. J Clin Oncol. 2019;10;37(14):1188-1199.
7 ClinicalTrials.gov Rituximab Plus Lenalidomide for Patients With Relapsed / Refractory Indolent Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (Follicular Lymphoma and Marginal Zone Lymphoma) (AUGMENT). Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01938001 Accessed September 2019.
8 ClinicalTrials.gov Lenalidomide Plus Rituximab Followed by Lenalidomide Versus Rituximab Maintenance for Relapsed/Refractory Follicular, Marginal Zone or Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MAGNIFY). Available at: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01996865 Accessed August 2019.
9 American Cancer Society. Lymphoma. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/lymphoma.html. Accessed August 2019.
10 American Cancer Society. What is Hodgkin Lymphoma? Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/hodgkin-lymphoma/about/what-is-hodgkin-disease.html. Accessed August 2019.
11 American Cancer Society. What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma? Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/non-hodgkin-lymphoma/about/what-is-non-hodgkin-lymphoma.html. Accessed August 2019.
12 Lymphoma Action. Follicular lymphoma. Available at: https://lymphoma-action.org.uk/types-lymphoma-non-hodgkin-lymphoma/follicular-lymphoma. Accessed November 2019.
13 Montoto S, Lopez-Guillermo A, Ferrer A, et al. Survival after progression in patients with follicular lymphoma: analysis of prognostic factors. Ann Oncol. 2002;13(4):523-30.

SOURCE: Celgene

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