Immunotherapy

Mantle Cell Lymphoma

Lymphoma is the name for a group of cancers that arise from a type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. Lymphomas are divided into Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is one of about 70 different subtypes of NHL. MCL results from a malignant transformation of a B lymphocyte (B-cell) in the outer edge of a lymph node follicle. The transformed B-cell grows in an uncontrolled way, resulting in the accumulation of lymphoma cells, which causes enlargement of lymph nodes. Sometimes, when these lymph nodes become very large, or grow in other parts of the body, they can be called tumors. The MCL cells can enter the lymphatic channels and the blood and can spread to other lymph nodes or tissues, such as the bone marrow, liver and gastrointestinal tract.

Treatment options for MCL include watchful waiting, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy. Although chemotherapy is the most commonly used treatment for MCL, in 2013, the FDA approved an immunotherapy drug for treating MCL. This drug is typically combined with a chemotherapy drug. The immunotherapy drug is only approved for MCL in people who have disease that relapsed or progressed after two prior therapies. For this group of people, the use of immunotherapy with chemotherapy has lead to better results than the use of immunotherapy alone. As a result, this is offering hope to people with MCL as an additional treatment option.

Multiple classes of therapies and drugs are under investigation for MCL. You may want to ask your doctor about participating in a clinical trial because new therapies are constantly emerging. Participating in a clinical trial may offer you the best chance of receiving the most leading-edge treatments available. Some of the immunotherapies being studied in clinical trials include immunomodulators, which are substances that regulate the function of the immune system and can slow the rate at which cancer cells grow and multiply, and radioimmunotherapy, which combines the cancer-killing ability of radiation therapy with the targeting capability of immunotherapy to deliver lethal doses of radiation directly to cancer cells.

Before deciding to participate in a clinical trial, talk with your doctor to discuss all of the options available and which are the best fit for your stage and type of MCL.

 

FDA-Approved Immunotherapies for Mantle Cell Lymphoma
As of 10/26/2016
lenalidomide (Revlimid)

Additional Resources

 

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