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People with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or follicular lymphoma and limited treatment options could benefit from new drug

Published on: 23 July 2017

People with certain mutations (genetic changes) in their lymphoma cells are most likely to benefit.

Text that says Results

Tazemetostat is a new drug being tested in an ongoing phase 2 trial for people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) or follicular lymphoma that has relapsed (come back) or was refractory (didn’t respond well) to previous treatment.

Tazemetostat is a type of cell signal blocker called an EZH2 histone methyl transferase (HMT) inhibitor. It targets and blocks a protein that encourages lymphoma cells to divide and multiply. Blocking this protein may help to stop lymphoma from growing.

Initial results of the trial were presented at the International Conference for Malignant Lymphoma (ICML) in June 2017.

The treatment appears to be well tolerated. The most common side effects seen so far are nausea, thrombocytopenia (low platelets, which can cause bleeding and bruising), cough, diarrhoea, fatigue (extreme tiredness) and a feeling of weakness.

Encouraging initial response rates have been seen, particularly for people with EZH2 mutations. Twelve out of 13 people with follicular lymphoma and EZH2 mutations had a good response, as did five out of 17 people with DLBCL and EZH2 mutations.  The trial is ongoing and it is hoped that the final results will show a lasting response for people with limited treatment options.

The people treated in this study have already had at least 2 previous treatments and trials such as this are important in the development of new treatments that can improve their outlook.

This treatment looks like an interesting option for some people with these types of lymphoma, although obviously it is early days and we need to see how long the responses will last.  Only a minority of follicular and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas carry these mutations, so we are working on ways to find them early on, for example through the MAPle study.

Professor Peter Johnson, one of the investigators working on this trial

Recruitment for the trial is expected to continue until July 2018. Find out more about the trial in our trial summary or search our database to find a trial that might be suitable for you.