Ibrutinib for Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease After Failure of Prior Therapy: 1-Year Update of a Phase 1b/2 Study

Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2019 Oct;25(10):2002-2007. doi: 10.1016/j.bbmt.2019.06.023. Epub 2019 Jun 28.


Chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD) is a life-threatening complication of allogeneic stem cell transplantation. In a Phase 1b/2, open-label study (PCYC-1129; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT02195869) involving 42 patients with active cGVHD who were steroid-dependent or -refractory, the activity and safety of ibrutinib, a once-daily inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase, was demonstrated. Here we report extended follow-up for patients in this study. After a median follow-up of 26 months (range, .53 to 36.7 months), best overall response rate in the all treated population was 69% (29 of 42), with 13 patients (31%) achieving a complete response and 16 patients (38%) achieving a partial response. Sustained responses of ≥20, ≥32, and ≥44 weeks were seen in 20 (69%), 18 (62%), and 16 (55%) of the 29 responders, respectively. Of 26 patients with ≥2 involved organs, 19 (73%) showed responses in ≥2 organs. Six of 10 patients (60%) with ≥3 involved organs showed responses in ≥3 organs. Eleven of 18 patients (61%) who had sclerosis at baseline showed a sclerotic response (39% with complete response, 22% with partial response). Twenty-seven of 42 patients (64%) reached a corticosteroid dose of <.15 mg/kg/day during the study; 8 discontinued corticosteroid treatment and remained off corticosteroid at study closure. Safety findings for this updated analysis were consistent with the safety profile seen at the time of the original analysis. Common grade ≥3 adverse events (AEs) were pneumonia (n = 6), fatigue (n = 5), and diarrhea (n = 4). The onset of new grade ≥3 AEs decreased from 71% in the first year of treatment to 25% in the second year (n = 12). AEs leading to discontinuation occurred in 18 patients (43%). At a median follow-up of >2 years, ibrutinib continued to produce durable responses in patients with cGVHD who had failed previous systemic therapy. In this pretreated, high-risk population, clinically meaningful benefit and an acceptable safety profile were observed with additional follow-up for ibrutinib. These results demonstrate a substantial advance in the therapeutic management of patients with cGVHD.

Keywords: Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor; Chronic graft-versus-host disease; Ibrutinib; Steroid-dependent chronic graft-versus-host disease; Steroid-refractory chronic graft versus host disease.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase I
  • Clinical Trial, Phase II

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Graft vs Host Disease / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ibrutinib
  • Adenine

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT02195869