A recent, phase 2 study in China has investigated a new treatment combination for classical Hodgkin lymphoma that has come back (relapsed) or not responded (refractory) after previous treatment.
In this study, people with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma who had had at least two previous treatments were given:
- camrelizumab on its own or
- cambrelizumab plus decitabine.
Camrelizumab is a ‘checkpoint inhibitor’ that stops lymphoma cells hiding from your immune system. This allows your immune system to recognise and destroy the lymphoma cells. Some checkpoint inhibitors, such as nivolumab and pembrolizumab, are already available to treat certain people with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.
Decitabine is a chemotherapy drug that works by turning on genes that stop cancer cells growing and dividing. Scientists think it might also boost your immune system’s response to treatment with checkpoint inhibitors. It is currently used to treat people with acute myeloid leukaemia who are not suitable for standard therapy.
In this study, people who were treated with camrelizumab plus decitabine had a much higher response to treatment than people treated with camrelizumab on its own. The response also seemed to last longer in people who received camerlizumab plus decitabine, although longer-term results are needed to confirm this.
These results show that drugs that alters gene activation in this way (called ‘epigenetic modulators’) have the potential to boost the anti-lymphoma response to checkpoint inhibitors. This is a promising new approach that could improve outcomes for people with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.
The authors concluded that adding decitabine to camrelizumab was safe and had an ‘impressively high complete response rate’. Large-scale trials are planned to investigate the treatment further.
To find out more about how clinical trials are used to study new treatments for lymphoma, or to search for a trial that might be suitable for you, visit Lymphoma Action TrialsLink.
10 June 2019