Targeted Leukemia Rx Gets Green Light

AbbVie's Venclexta (venetoclax) approved to treat chronic lymphocytic leukemia

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first treatment to specifically target the B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) protein found in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).

That treatment is Venclexta (venetoclax). The FDA approved it to treat CLL and for patients who have 17p deletion, which is a chromosomal abnormality.

Those who have a 17p deletion lack a portion of the chromosome needed to stop cancer growth. Furthermore, Venclexta targets the BCL-2 protein, which supports the growth of cancer.

AbbVie Inc.'s Venclexta is a treatment option for about 30 percent of patients who have 17p deletion, according to the FDA.

The FDA has approved this medication to be given after being treated with at least one prior therapy.

In clinical trials, 80 percent of patients who were given Venclexta saw a complete or partial remission of their cancer.

Common side effects include a decrease in blood cell counts, diarrhea, nausea and fatigue. Patients receiving Venclexta should not receive live attenuated vaccines.

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Review Date: 
April 13, 2016
Last Updated:
April 14, 2016