Improved time to treatment failure and survival in ibrutinib-treated malignancies with a pharmaceutical care program: an observational cohort study

Ann Hematol. 2020 Jul;99(7):1615-1625. doi: 10.1007/s00277-020-04045-y. Epub 2020 Jun 1.


Ibrutinib treatment has been shown to increase survival in patients with B cell malignancies. Real-life data suggest a large part of discontinuations are due to toxicities, impairing ibrutinib efficacy. We aimed to assess the impact of a pharmaceutical care program on the efficacy and safety of ibrutinib. This single-center, cohort, observational study enrolled patients with B cell malignancies. Patients were either assigned to the program or to receive usual care, based on physician decision. The program was conducted by clinical pharmacists specializing in oncology and included patient education for management of toxicities, adherence monitoring, interventions to reduce drug-drug interactions, and follow-up of transition from hospital to community. Between February 2014 and May 2017, we enrolled 155 patients, including 42 (27%) who were allocated to the program group and 113 (73%) to the usual care group. The effect of the program was beneficial in terms of time to treatment failure (p = 0.0005). The 30-month progression-free and overall survivals were significantly superior in the program group (respectively p = 0.002 and p = 0.004). Grade 3 or higher adverse events occurred more frequently for patients in the usual care group (15%) than program group (8%). A pharmaceutical care program provides a personalized environment for outpatient monitoring and control of the key risks associated with oral anticancer agents. This study shows evidence that management of ibrutinib treatment by clinical pharmacists results in significant improvement in survival and better tolerance than usual care.

Keywords: Education; Ibrutinib; Leukemia; Lymphoma; Pharmacist; Survival.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adenine / analogs & derivatives
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Efficiency, Organizational
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / mortality*
  • Pharmaceutical Services / organization & administration
  • Pharmaceutical Services / standards*
  • Pharmaceutical Services / trends
  • Pharmacists / organization & administration
  • Pharmacists / standards
  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Quality Improvement*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors
  • Time-to-Treatment / organization & administration
  • Time-to-Treatment / standards*
  • Time-to-Treatment / trends
  • Treatment Failure


  • Piperidines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • ibrutinib
  • Adenine