CAR-T cell therapy effective in therapy-resistant mantle cell lymphoma patients

Written by Kimberley Ndungu

Researchers have discovered that CD19-targeting CAR-T cell therapy may be effective in patients with relapsed mantle cell lymphoma that displayed resistance to prior therapies.

A Phase II study presented at the 61st American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting & Exposition (9 December 2019; FL, USA), reported that patients with mantle cell lymphoma that was resistant to prior therapies may benefit from treatment with CD19-targeting CAR-T cell therapy.

Despite treatment with the standard therapy, Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitor agents, some patients still experience disease progression and generally don’t live past 6 months. Further, very few patients qualify for an allogenic stem cell transplant.

The research team, led by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (TX, USA), discovered that 93% of treated patients responded to autologous CAR-T cell therapy, with 67% achieving a complete response. Furthermore, 43% of the first 28 patients are still in remission 2 years later.

The patients in this study had a median age of 65 years and 84% were male. Also, over 80% of the participants were diagnoses with a stage IV disease, and half of participants were classed as intermediate to high risk.

“Outcomes for patients whose disease progresses following initial treatments is poor,” commented Michael Wang (MD Anderson), Professor of Lymphoma & Myeloma. “Our study demonstrated significant and durable clinical benefit for patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma for which there are no curative treatment options.”

Unfortunately, the researchers reported some Grade 3 side effects, such as anemia and low platelet count, and the majority of patients did experience cytokine release syndrome; however, the syndrome was managed in all patients effectively.

“ZUMA-2 is the first multi-center, Phase II study of CAR T-cell therapy for relapsed/refractory mantle cell lymphoma, and these interim efficacy and safety results are encouraging,” explained Wang. “Although this study continues, our reported results, including a manageable safety profile, point to this therapy as an effective and viable option for patients with relapsed or refractory mantle cell lymphoma.”


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