The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Rylaze (asparaginase erwinia chrysanthemi (recombinant)-rywn) as a component of a chemotherapy regimen to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia and lymphoblastic lymphoma in adult and pediatric patients who are allergic to the E. coli-derived asparaginase products used most commonly for treatment.
The FDA granted approval of Rylaze to Jazz Pharmaceuticals. The only other FDA-approved drug for such patients with allergic reactions has been in global shortage for years.
“It is extremely disconcerting to patients, families and providers when there is a lack of access to critical drugs for treatment of a life-threatening, but often curable cancer, due to supply issues,” said Gregory Reaman, M.D., associate director for pediatric oncology in the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence. “Today’s approval may provide a consistently sourced alternative to a pivotal component of potentially curative therapy for children and adults with this type of leukemia.”
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia occurs in approximately 5,700 patients annually, about half of whom are children. It is the most common type of childhood cancer. One component of the chemotherapy regimen is an enzyme called asparaginase that kills cancer cells by depriving them of substances needed to survive. An estimated 20% of patients are allergic to the standard E. coli-derived asparaginase and need an alternative their bodies can tolerate.
Rylaze’s efficacy was evaluated in a study of 102 patients who either had a hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived asparaginases or experienced silent inactivation. The main measurement was whether patients achieved and maintained a certain level of asparaginase activity. The study found that the recommended dosage would provide the target level of asparaginase activity in 94% of patients.
The most common side effects of Rylaze include hypersensitivity reactions, pancreatic toxicity, blood clots, hemorrhage and liver toxicity.