Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Coverage from Every Angle

Weight Gain With Ibrutinib Treatment in Patients With CLL

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Friday, November 8, 2019

Patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) who are treated with ibrutinib may have significant and sustained weight gain, according to an observational study described in a Letter to the Editor in the American Journal of Hematology.

Because progressive CLL can be associated with decreased appetite and metabolic changes resulting in weight loss, Clive S. Zent, MD, of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Institute, University of Rochester, New York, and colleagues found that ibrutinib-induced remission reverses these disease-induced effects, resulting in significant weight gain.

“Our preliminary data suggest that weight gain should be an anticipated side effect of ibrutinib therapy,” the authors explained. “Weight management aimed at preventing excessive weight gain could be an important component of effective CLL treatment with ibrutinib.”

Dr. Zent and colleagues reviewed the medical records of 118 patients with CLL who were treated with ibrutinib for at least 6 months. They collected data on height; weight; and body mass index (BMI) from 1 year before ibrutinib initiation, at ibrutinib initiation, and after starting ibrutinib therapy at 1, 2, 3, and 6 months, at 1 year (n = 98), 2 years (n = 52), 3 years (n = 32), and 4 years (n = 14), when available.

The median weight at ibrutinib initiation was 81 kg, and the median BMI was 27 kg/m2. The average patient weight increased after initiation of ibrutinib therapy and was significantly higher at both 6 months (1.8 kg kg/m2) and 1 year (2.4 kg kg/m2). At 2 years after initiation of ibrutinib, the average weight of 52 patients who remained on ibrutinib was 3.8 kg higher than at initiation of therapy (P < .001). However, the limited number of patients that continued treatment with ibrutinib beyond 2 years appeared to experience a weight gain plateau.

Disclosure: The authors reported no conflicts of interest.

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