New Rx to Protect Bone Marrow During Chemo

FDA OKs Cosela (trilaciclib) to curb chemo-induced bone marrow suppression

(RxWiki News) The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug to reduce bone marrow suppression brought on by chemotherapy.

This new medication is called Cosela (trilaciclib). The FDA approved it to reduce the frequency of chemo-induced bone marrow suppression in adults with small cell lung cancer.

Cosela is the first therapy in its class approved for this use, the FDA noted.

“For patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer, protecting bone marrow function may help make their chemotherapy safer and allow them to complete their course of treatment on time and according to plan,” said Dr. Albert Deisseroth, supervisory medical officer in the FDA's Division of Non-Malignant Hematology, in a press release. “Today’s approval of Cosela will give patients a treatment option that can reduce the occurrence of a common, harmful side effect of chemotherapy.”

The medications used in chemotherapy are meant to kill cancer cells. In doing so, these drugs can damage normal tissues. Bone marrow is particularly at risk from this effect.

Because bone marrow produces cells that help the immune system, damage to the bone marrow can limit the immune system's function. Bone marrow damage can cause bleeding, tiredness and a raised risk of infections.

Cosela, approved for use in adults with small cell lung cancer that has spread outside of the lungs (referred to as "extensive" cancer), appears to protect bone marrow from this effect of chemo.

The FDA assessed the effectiveness of this drug in three trials. In these trials, patients who received Cosela were less likely than those who did not receive it to have severely reduced white blood cell counts. White blood cells are immune cells produced by bone marrow.

Side effects of Cosela included fatigue, pneumonia, headache, increased levels of a certain enzyme, and reduced levels of calcium, phosphate and potassium. The FDA said patients should be warned that Cosela may cause reactions at the injection site, toxicity to unborn babies, inflammation of lung tissue and acute drug hypersensitivity.

If you have concerns about the side effects of chemo, talk to your doctor.

The FDA approved Cosela for G1 Therapeutics, Inc.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
February 26, 2021