CAR T Effective as First-Line Therapy for High-Risk Lymphoma Patients

By Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC - December 13, 2023

Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy, or CAR T, has revolutionized the treatment of blood cancers. This type of therapy uses a patient’s immune cells that are re-engineered to seek out and fight cancer. CAR T was initially approved in 2017 for leukemia and lymphoma patients who have failed two or more lines of therapy, and clinical investigations are ongoing to evaluate using the cellular immunotherapy sooner in a patient’s treatment journey.

New three-year data from the ZUMA-12 phase 2 clinical trial presented at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting finds Yescarta (axicabtagene ciloleucel) is effective as a first-line therapy after two cycles of chemoimmunotherapy for high-risk lymphoma patients. Of the 37 patients evaluated, 92% had an objective response and 86% experienced a complete response. At the data cutoff, after a median follow-up of 40.9 months, 73% of patients had an ongoing response.

headshot of Dr. Julio Chavez
Dr. Julio Chavez, Malignant Hematology Department

“Patients with high-risk, large B-cell lymphoma have a poor prognosis with currently available therapies. The impressive results of this phase 2 study reinforce the potential of CAR T-cell therapy as a first-line therapy for this patient population,” said Dr. Julio Chavez, lead investigator of the ZUMA-12 trial and associate member of the Malignant Hematology Department at Moffitt Cancer Center. “These results support further studies comparing axicabtagene ciloleucel versus standard of care chemotherapy, such as the ZUMA-23 that is currently enrolling.”

ZUMA-12 is the first clinical trial to evaluate Yescarta as first-line therapy for patients with high-risk disease, including those with double- or triple-hit lymphoma or additional clinical risk factors identified by the International Prognostic Index or interim positron emission tomography scan. This subset of lymphoma is challenging to treat, with less than half of patients achieving long-term disease remission with standard-of-care treatment approaches, such as chemotherapy.

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Kim Polacek, APR, CPRC Senior PR Account Coordinator 813-456-3342 More Articles

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