Risk of Major Bleeding with Ibrutinib

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Abstract

Ibrutinib is a highly effective therapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. However, ibrutinib has also been associated with an increased risk of bleeding, although major bleeding has been infrequent in clinical trials. In the present retrospective analysis, major bleeding occurred in 19% of patients receiving ibrutinib and was associated with baseline anemia, an elevated international normalized ratio, and concurrent antiplatelet and anticoagulant use. A risk versus benefit analysis of these factors is essential for treatment with ibrutinib.

Background:

The Bruton tyrosine kinase inhibitor, ibrutinib, is an effective therapy against mature B-cell malignancies. Although generally well tolerated, serious bleeding emerged during developmental clinical trials as an unexpected, although uncommon, adverse event. As the use of ibrutinib increases outside of the clinical trial setting and in patients with more comorbidities, the rate of major bleeding could be greater.

Materials and Methods:

A retrospective analysis the data from all patients at our center and its regional clinics who had been prescribed ibrutinib from January 2012 to May 2016 were reviewed for demographic data, comorbid illnesses, bleeding events, and concurrent medications.

Results:

We identified 70 patients. Bleeding of any grade occurred in 56% of patients, mostly grade 1 to 2 bruising and epistaxis. Major bleeding, defined as grade ≥ 3, occurred in 19% of patients, greater than previously reported. Anemia (hemoglobin < 12 g/dL; hazard ratio [HR], 5.0; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.4-18.2; P = .02) and an elevated international normalized ratio (> 1.5; HR, 9.5; 95% CI, 2.7-33.5; P < .01) at ibrutinib initiation were associated with an increased risk of major bleeding. Of those with major bleeding, most patients were also taking an antiplatelet agent (70%), an anticoagulant (17%), or a CYP 3A4 inhibitor (7%), with 13% taking both antiplatelet and anticoagulant medications. The use of both antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapy significantly increased the risk of a major bleed event (HR, 19.2; 95% CI, 2.3-166.7; P < .01).

Conclusion:

The results of the present study have demonstrated a greater rate of major bleeding with ibrutinib use in a standard clinical setting than previously reported. Patients with anemia or an elevated international normalized ratio or requiring anticoagulant and/or antiplatelet medications during ibrutinib therapy have a significantly increased risk of major bleeding. Careful consideration of the risks and benefits for this population is needed. The combination of antiplatelet and anticoagulation medications with ibrutinib therapy is of particular concern.

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