A number of important discoveries, therapeutic developments, and events related to lymphoma were reported daily by Lymphoma News Today throughout 2016. Now that the year is over, it is time to briefly review the articles that appealed most to our readers. Here are the top 10 most-read articles of 2016, with a brief description of what made them interesting and relevant to lymphoma patients, family members, and caregivers.
The study reported that the common Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which sometimes causes mononucleosis, can cause lymphoma by tampering with two genes. While it was long known that the virus increases the risk of lymphoma, researchers learned that the association is not a mere coincidence. EBV switches on a gene that contributes to lymphoma development, and turns off another that normally controls programmed cell death — forcing cancerous cells to die.
A clinical trial comparing Gazyva (obinutuzumab) and chemotherapy with the standard treatment, Rituxan (rituximab) plus chemotherapy, in patients with previously untreated follicular lymphoma showed that patients on the Gazyva combination survived longer without signs of disease progression. The treatment not only lowered the risk of disease progression, but also increased the number of patients without evidence of minimal residual disease, meaning they lacked any traces of cancer in the blood and bone marrow.
Gazyva is currently approved for follicular lymphoma patients who did not respond to previous Rituxan treatment, or who relapsed after such treatment.
The article described promising results of an interim analysis of a Phase 1/2 clinical trial — ZUMA-1 (NCT02348216) — of CAR T-cells in patients with refractory, aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, including treatment-resistant diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL), and transformed follicular lymphoma (TFL). The interim analysis reported the study already had met its primary goal: an objective response rate of 44% across all patient groups, with a complete response reached in 39% of patients. All patients were given one single infusion of KTE-C19 after three days of chemotherapy.
Another CAR T-cell immunotherapy advanced this year, with both U.S. and European regulatory authorities granting the treatment, called JCAR017, access to programs that would speed up its development and review. The treatment is intended for patients with relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Data from a clinical trial showed that the treatment induced complete responses in 60% of patients with DLBCL and follicular lymphoma grade 3B.
This study described findings showing that Iclusig (ponatinib) benefits leukemia patients who had failed previous treatments with other tyrosine kinase inhibitors. The drug worked specifically well for patients with resistant or intolerant chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), or Philadelphia chromosome-positive acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph+ALL). A Phase 1 study (NCT00660920) showed that 72% of chronic-phase CML patients had a response that included the bone marrow, and 65% of patients had a complete cytogenetic response. In addition, pooled data from the Phase 1 study and a follow-up trial (NCT01207440) showed improved long-term survival.
The article described new and upcoming treatment options for patients with follicular lymphoma. The drugs included approved treatments such as Rituxan (rituximab) and Zevalin (ibritumomab tiuxetan), as well as investigational ones such as Zydelig (idelalisib). The article also looked at the possibility of combined treatments, where Rituxan is commonly used together with other drugs, including Revlimid (lenalidomide) and Imbruvica (ibrutinib).
Results from a case series of patients with primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) or primary testicular lymphoma (PTL) showed that Opdivo (nivolumab) — approved for Hodgkin’s lymphoma — also may be effective in these two aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma types. Both PCNSL and PTL develop outside the lymph nodes and are notoriously resistant to treatment. The findings led researchers to launch a Phase 2 clinical trial (NCT02857426) of Opdivo in patients with these two cancers.
The study described the identification of a new compound, active against lymphoma and other types of cancer. The compound, named S63845, blocks a protein called MCL1. This factor is used by cancer cells to cheat death by evading so-called programmed cell death — a cellular machinery that works to get rid of abnormal or damaged cells. In addition to lymphoma, the compound was seen to be effective against acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, melanoma, and lung and breast cancers.
The same CAR T-cell treatment that made the 8th place on our list did a comeback as No. 2, with Lymphoma News Today reporting that the treatment, KTE-C19, triggered a complete response in nearly half of the patients treated so far in the ongoing Phase 1/2 trial (NCT02348216) in refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The news, released at a scientific meeting in December, showed that the response was durable — after 12 months, patients who achieved a complete response in the first part of the trial had not relapsed. The second part of the trial was a real-life test of the treatment’s feasibility, and included a large number of treatment centers with no previous experience of CAR T-cell therapy. In this part, 47% of patients achieved a complete response.
Last year’s most read article shared the news of the addition of four viruses to a list of known carcinogens issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Research has shown that the viruses cause various types of lymphoma. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) increases the risk of both Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) has been linked to T-cell leukemia-lymphoma. Epstein-Barr virus (EVB) has been associated with a whole range of different lymphoma types. Finally, Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) was seen to increase the risk of two rare types of lymphoma.
Lymphoma News Today hopes these developments, and new reports coming your way throughout 2017, will ultimately educate, inform, and improve the lives of people living with lymphoma.
We wish all our readers a happy and inspiring 2017.