The Journal of Clinical Oncology has recently published the results of a phase 2 trial investigating a new treatment for people with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) that has come back (relapsed) or has not responded (refractory) after previous treatment and who are not suitable for a stem cell transplant. People in the trial were treated with one of two regimens:
Polatuzumab vedotin is an antibody-drug conjugate: an antibody joined to a strong anti-cancer drug. The antibody sticks to protein called CD79b on lymphoma cells and delivers the drug directly to them.
The study found that adding polatuzumab vedotin to bendamustine and rituximab significantly improved outcomes in people who were not suitable for a stem cell transplant. People in the study who were treated with polatuzumab vedotin, bendamustine and rituximab were more likely to respond to treatment, had longer-lasting responses and had a lower risk of dying than people treated with bendamustine and rituximab without polatuzumab vedotin.
More people in the polatuzumab vedotin, bendamustine and ritixumab group experienced low blood counts during treatment. However, the number of people who needed a blood transfusion or developed an infection as a result of low blood counts was similar in both treatment groups.
Although this was an early (phase 2) trial, the results are positive. People with relapsed or refractory DLBCL currently who aren’t able to have a stem cell transplant currently have limited treatment options. This could offer a new approach.
On the basis of these results, the EMA have recommended polatuzumab vedotin for approval in Europe.
21 January 2020