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Incidence of malignancy in patients with moderate-to-severe asthma treated with or without omalizumab(?)

The Epidemiologic Study of Xolair (omalizumab): Evaluating Clinical Effectiveness and Long-term Safety in Patients with Moderate-to-Severe Asthma (EXCELS) assessed the long-term safety of omalizumab in a clinical practice setting as part of a phase IV US Food and Drug Administration postmarketing commitment. We sought to evaluate long-term safety in omalizumab-treated and nonomalizumab-treated patients. Primary outcome measures focused on assessment of malignancies. EXCELS was a prospective observational cohort study in patients (?12 years of age) with moderate-to-severe allergic asthma. There were 2 cohorts: omalizumab (taking omalizumab at baseline) and nonomalizumab (no history of omalizumab treatment). Primary outcomes included all confirmed, incident, study-emergent primary malignancies (malignancies), including and excluding nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC); all malignancies were externally adjudicated. The omalizumab cohort had a higher proportion of patients with severe asthma compared with the nonomalizumab cohort (50.0% vs 23.0%). Median follow-up was approximately 5 years for both cohorts. Crude malignancy rates were similar in the omalizumab and nonomalizumab cohorts, with a rate ratio of 0.84 (95% CI, 0.62-1.13) for all malignancies and 0.98 (95% CI, 0.71-1.36) for all malignancies excluding NMSC. Kaplan-Meier plots of time to first confirmed study-emergent primary malignancy were similar for the 2 treatment cohorts. Cox proportional hazards modeling, adjusting for confounders and risk factors, resulted in a hazard ratio (omalizumab vs nonomalizumab) of 1.09 (95% CI, 0.87-1.38) for all malignancies and 1.15 (95% CI, 0.83-1.59) for all malignancies excluding NMSC. Results from EXCELS suggest that omalizumab therapy is not associated with an increased risk of malignancy.

Authors: Long A; Rahmaoui A; Rothman KJ; Guinan E; Eisner M; Bradley MS; Iribarren C; Chen H; Carrigan G; Rosén K; Szefler SJ

J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2014 Sep;134(3):560-567.e4. Epub 2014-03-27.

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