Researchers reported a number of important findings in lymphoma treatment at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology:

Chemo-free regimen not superior in previously untreated follicular lymphoma

For previously untreated follicular lymphoma, the RELEVANCE trial compared regimens that included the immunotherapy rituximab plus chemotherapy (the current standard of care) to a “chemo-free” regimen of rituximab and the immunotherapy lenalidomide.

In the rituximab/chemotherapy regimens, the types of chemotherapy administered included cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin and vincristine.

What Patients Need to Know

The results did not show better outcomes for the chemo-free regimen, as the response rate and two-year progression-free survival (a key prognostic factor in follicular lymphoma) were similar between the two groups.

Risk of disease progression in Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia greatly reduced by combination therapy

Results from the international phase III iNNOVATE trial showed that, in patients with Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM), the risk of disease progression was reduced by 80 percent when treated with a combination of the immunotherapy rituximab and the targeted therapy ibrutinib, compared to rituximab alone.

Ibrutinib, a BTK inhibitor, works against a mutation that is present in approximately 90 percent of WM cases.

What Patients Need to Know

Ibrutinib is FDA-approved for the treatment of WM. Rituximab is also a standard treatment in both newly diagnosed patients and patients whose WM has recurred. Both ibrutinib and rituximab are often used alone (monotherapy) to treat WM.

CAR T-cell therapy effective in treatment of relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma

Axicabtagene ciloleucel, a chimeric antigen receptor T (CAR T) cell therapy, was approved by the FDA in October 2017 for the treatment of adult patients with relapsed or refractory large B-cell lymphoma who had previously received at least two other kinds of therapy.

Follow-up data from the ZUMA-1 study indicated that, after a single infusion, 42 percent of patients in this population continued to respond to therapy after more than one year, including 40 percent with a complete remission.

What Patients Need to Know

CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that follows certain steps, which include drawing blood, separating out and genetically modifying the T-cells, multiplying those cells in a laboratory and infusing them back into the patient, where they attack cancer cells.