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'A Lot of Action' in The Development of Targeted Therapies for Mantle Cell Lymphoma


Evidence shows that Bruton’s tyrosine kinase inhibitors, one of many targeted therapies, are highly effective in patients with mantle cell lymphoma.

In recent years, there have been various Food and Drug Administration approvals of Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors for the treatment of patients with mantle cell lymphoma, as well as other cousin diseases including chronic lymphocytic leukemia and other B-cell malignancies.

In an interview with CURE®, Dr. Ian Flinn, director of lymphoma research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute, discussed the emerging role of targeted therapies, including BTK inhibitors, in the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma.


CURE: Just to look at the larger landscape as well, what's going on with targeted drugs? Is there anything exciting being studied in that regard?

Flinn: I think that in targeted therapies, there's a lot of action there too. We've known for a while now that the bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors, which is an oral medication, or pills that patients take, are highly effective in mantle cell lymphoma. And so, this is a targeted therapy that decreases the survival and stops the growth of mantle cell lymphoma. And it's effective in other cousin diseases like chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia and other B-cell malignancies, but it's also effective in mantle cell lymphoma.

We now have three different BTK inhibitors that have been FDA approved, most recent is zanubrutinib (Brukinsa), but we also have acalabrutinib (Calquence) and ibrutinib (Imbruvica) that have been approved for the treatment of this, and so that's great news. We know that's effective, some of the more recent results show that patients are staying on remissions longer, sometimes a couple years or more. And that's good news, and then (they’re also) more tolerable.

Later generation therapies have less side effects and so people can have a very good, almost normal, quality of life on these medications. I think some of the other news is trying to combine these with other agents. So, these drugs are being added to chemotherapy backbones in trials looking at trying to improve how long someone stays in remission, and response rates. They're being combined with other novel agents such as the drug venetoclax (Venclexta), being used in combination with BTK inhibitors, to deepen the remission and try to get away from a chemotherapy backbone because, you know, everyone knows that chemotherapy has a lot of unintended consequences, side effects. And so the more targeted therapies that we can use, the more likely we can get away from some of these adverse events.

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