Experimental drug shows promise in refractory DLBCL

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An abstract presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) regarding patients with aggressive and refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma has the attention of those in attendance.

Current treatment modalities can cure as many as 50 percent of patients diagnosed with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, but the other half are considerably harder to treat, with the most commonly diagnosed subtype (known as activated B-cell or ABC) accounting for as many as 40 percent of all cases. The ABC subtype also has the poorest prognosis.

According to the abstract's lead author, Louis Staudt, MD, PhD, deputy chief of the Metabolism Branch at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Maryland, a potentially powerful new drug is giving doctors some hope for this subset of patients: Ibrutinib.

Ibrutinib is an oral drug that selectively inhibits Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK), an important signaling kinase in the B-cell receptor pathway. It is a first-in-class agent.

Dr. Staudt presented the interim results of patients from a pilot study with ABC DLBCL including one with a CD79BY196C mutation and MYD88 wild type, who had had a complete response to 2 previous cycles of chemotherapy only to relapse. She was then treated with Ibrutinib and 16 months later remains in remission with "no discernible side effects."

A multicenter phase II trial testing ibrutinib against DLBCL has therefore been initiated, said Dr. Staudt.

Source: AACR

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