ASH 2013: Adcetris Tested Against B-cell Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas


Although Adcetris is associated with Hodgkin's and T-cell lymphoma, researchers have been testing the drug for use against non-Hodgkin's lymphomas with some encouraging success.

This ongoing open-label phase II study conducted by researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and MD Anderson Cancer center, among others, is exploring the activity of the antibody drug conjugate brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) against relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) including diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

A total of 62 patients have been enrolled in the study, including 44 with DLBCL. The majority of patients are heavily pretreated and have refractory disease.

Surprising results

Among the DLBCL patients, 40 percent had an objective response to Adcetris, with a median duration of 36 weeks. Seven patients had complete remissions and 10 had partial responses.

Researchers expressed encouragement over the activity seen against DLBCL, since their hopes weren't all that high.

Adcetris seeks the CD30 protein on the cell surface, which is how it finds the cells it is designed to kill – a protein expressed by maybe one-third of NHL B-cell patients.

Curiously, investigators found that Adcetris seemed to work as well as or better in those patients whose tumor weakly expressed the CD30 protein – this is contrary to all expectation and to preclinical trials.

No explanation for the activity was offered.

Source: ASH

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