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Impact of Asparaginase Discontinuation on Outcome in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: A Report From the Children’s Oncology Group

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This journal article is being provided as a professional courtesy by Jazz Pharmaceuticals. This scientific publication contains information that is not included in the accompanying full Prescribing Information. Providing this reprint should not be construed as a recommendation for use of any Jazz Pharmaceuticals product for non-approved uses. Prior to prescribing, please refer to the accompanying Prescribing Information that includes approved indications and a complete discussion of the risks and benefits associated with our product.

The opinions expressed in this reprint do not necessarily reflect those of Jazz Pharmaceuticals. For questions regarding the contents of the reprint, please call 800-520-5568 for a written response to your specific question or to request a consultation with a Medical Science Liaison. Jazz Pharmaceuticals does not assume responsibility for any injury and/or damage to any persons or property out of, or related to, any use of the information contained in this reprint.

Authors’ disclosures of potential conflicts of interest

The following represents disclosure information provided by authors of this manuscript. All relationships are considered compensated unless otherwise noted. Relationships are self-held unless noted. I=Immediate Family Member, Inst=My Institution. Relationships may not relate to the subject matter of this manuscript.

Elizabeth A. Raetz
Research Funding: Pfizer (Inst)
Other Relationship: Celgene

Reuven Schore
Research Funding: Janssen Research & Development (Inst), Amgen

Len A. Mattano Jr
Stock and Other Ownership Interests: Pfizer, Pfizer (I), Amgen, Amgen (I), Monsanto, Monsanto (I)
Consulting or Advisory Role: Pfizer, Novartis, Melinta Therapeutics (I), Melinta Therapeutics, Pfizer (I)

William L. Carroll
Other Relationship: Amgen

Stephen P. Hunger
Stock and Other Ownership Interests: Amgen, Merck (I), Amgen (I), Pfizer (I)
Honoraria: Amgen
Consulting or Advisory Role: Novartis

Mignon L. Loh
Consulting or Advisory Role: MediSix Therapeutics

Meenakshi Devidas
Honoraria: PSI, Novartis

Detailed information on funding amounts received by the authors of this publication is available at


RYLAZE® (asparaginase erwinia chrysanthemi (recombinant)-rywn) is indicated as a component of a multi-agent chemotherapeutic regimen given by intramuscular injection for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and lymphoblastic lymphoma (LBL) in adult and pediatric patients 1 month or older who have developed hypersensitivity to E. coli-derived asparaginase.



RYLAZE is contraindicated in patients with:

  • History of serious hypersensitivity reactions to Erwinia asparaginase, including anaphylaxis
  • History of serious pancreatitis during previous asparaginase therapy
  • History of serious thrombosis during previous asparaginase therapy
  • History of serious hemorrhagic events during previous asparaginase therapy
  • Severe hepatic impairment

Warnings and Precautions

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Hypersensitivity reactions after the use of RYLAZE occurred in 29% of patients in clinical trials, and it was severe in 6% of patients. Anaphylaxis was observed in 2% of patients after intramuscular administration. Discontinuation of RYLAZE due to hypersensitivity reactions occurred in 5% of patients. Hypersensitivity reactions were higher in patients who received intravenous asparaginase erwinia chrysanthemi (recombinant)-rywn. The intravenous route of administration is not approved.

In patients administered RYLAZE intramuscularly in clinical trials, the median number of doses of RYLAZE that patients received prior to the onset of the first hypersensitivity reaction was 12 doses (range: 1-64 doses). The most commonly observed reaction was rash (19%), and 1 patient (1%) experienced a severe rash.

Hypersensitivity reactions observed with L-asparaginase class products include angioedema, urticaria, lip swelling, eye swelling, rash or erythema, blood pressure decreased, bronchospasm, dyspnea, and pruritus.

Premedicate patients prior to administration of RYLAZE as recommended. Because of the risk of serious allergic reactions (e.g., life-threatening anaphylaxis), administer RYLAZE in a setting with resuscitation equipment and other agents necessary to treat anaphylaxis (e.g., epinephrine, oxygen, intravenous steroids, antihistamines). Discontinue RYLAZE in patients with serious hypersensitivity reactions.


Pancreatitis, including elevated amylase or lipase, was reported in 20% of patients in clinical trials of RYLAZE and was severe in 8%. Symptomatic pancreatitis occurred in 7% of patients, and it was severe in 6% of patients. Elevated amylase or lipase without symptomatic pancreatitis was observed in 13% of patients treated with RYLAZE. Hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis have been reported with L-asparaginase class products.

Inform patients of the signs and symptoms of pancreatitis, which, if left untreated, could be fatal. Evaluate patients with symptoms compatible with pancreatitis to establish a diagnosis. Assess serum amylase and lipase levels in patients with any signs or symptoms of pancreatitis. Discontinue RYLAZE in patients with severe or hemorrhagic pancreatitis. In the case of mild pancreatitis, withhold RYLAZE until the signs and symptoms subside and amylase and/or lipase levels return to 1.5 times the ULN. After resolution of mild pancreatitis, treatment with RYLAZE may be resumed.


Serious thrombotic events, including sagittal sinus thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, have been reported in 1% of patients following treatment with RYLAZE. Discontinue RYLAZE for a thrombotic event, and administer appropriate antithrombotic therapy. Consider resumption of treatment with RYLAZE only if the patient had an uncomplicated thrombosis.


Bleeding was reported in 25% of patients treated with RYLAZE, and it was severe in 2%. Most commonly observed reactions were bruising (12%) and nose bleed (9%).

In patients treated with L-asparaginase class products, hemorrhage may be associated with increased prothrombin time (PT), increased partial thromboplastin time (PTT), and hypofibrinogenemia. Consider appropriate replacement therapy in patients with severe or symptomatic coagulopathy.

Hepatotoxicity, including Hepatic Veno-Occlusive Disease

Elevated bilirubin and/or transaminases occurred in 75% of patients treated with RYLAZE in clinical trials, and 26% had Grade ≥3 elevations. Elevated bilirubin occurred in 28% of patients treated with RYLAZE in clinical trials, and 2% had Grade ≥3 elevations. Elevated transaminases occurred in 73% of patients treated with RYLAZE in clinical trials, and 25% had Grade ≥3 elevations.

Hepatotoxicity, including severe, life-threatening, and potential fatal cases of hepatic veno-occlusive disease (VOD), have been observed in patients treated with asparaginase class products in combination with standard chemotherapy, including during the induction phase of multiphase chemotherapy. Do not administer RYLAZE to patients with severe hepatic impairment. Inform patients of the signs and symptoms of hepatotoxicity.

Evaluate bilirubin and transaminases prior to each cycle of RYLAZE and at least weekly during cycles of treatment that include RYLAZE, through four weeks after the last dose of RYLAZE. Monitor frequently for signs and symptoms of hepatic VOD, which may include rapid weight gain, fluid retention with ascites, hepatomegaly (which may be painful), and rapid increase of bilirubin. For patients who develop abnormal liver tests after RYLAZE, more frequent monitoring for liver test abnormalities and clinical signs and symptoms of VOD is recommended. In the event of serious liver toxicity, including VOD, discontinue treatment with RYLAZE and provide supportive care.

Adverse Reactions

The most common adverse reactions (incidence >20%) with RYLAZE are abnormal liver test, nausea, musculoskeletal pain, infection, fatigue, headache, febrile neutropenia, pyrexia, hemorrhage, stomatitis, abdominal pain, decreased appetite, drug hypersensitivity, hyperglycemia, diarrhea, pancreatitis, and hypokalemia.

Use in Specific Populations

Pregnancy and Lactation

RYLAZE can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman. Advise females of reproductive potential to use effective non-hormonal contraceptive methods during treatment with RYLAZE and for 3 months after the last dose. Advise women not to breastfeed during treatment with RYLAZE and for 1 week after the last dose.

Please see full Prescribing Information.

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