New two-year data show 39 percent of NHL patients treated with CAR T remain in remission

December 02, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. - A new article published today in The Lancet Oncology shows 39 percent of large B cell lymphoma patients treated with the chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR T) Yescarta® (axicabtagene ciloleucel) remained in remission more than two years (27.1 months median follow up) following therapy, and more than half of the patients treated remain alive. The new long-term safety and activity results of the ZUMA-1 clinical trial were also presented Sunday, Dec. 2 at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting in San Diego.

"This therapy has been a game-changer for patients with large B cell lymphoma who have failed two or more lines of therapy. Our ZUMA-1 clinical trial data show durable response beyond 2 years for nearly 40 percent of patients who had almost no chance for complete responses with conventional chemotherapy," said Frederick Locke, M.D., lead author of the article and associate member and vice chair of the Blood and Marrow Transplant and Cellular Immunotherapy Department, and co-leader of the Immunology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center. "Importantly, ongoing remission 2 years after initial chemotherapy for large B cell lymphoma is predictive of a cure, giving us hope that lymphoma will never return for many of the patients remaining in remission 2 years after axicabtagene ciloleucel."

"Large B cell lymphoma is an aggressive, fast-growing disease. Patients can be treated with chemotherapy or if they are well enough, a stem cell transplant. However, there are not many treatment options for patients when they refractory disease. For those patients, CAR T has proven to be a option that can provide durable remission," said Julio Chavez, M.D., assistant member of the Malignant Hematology Department at Moffitt and co-author of the study.

Moffitt co-led the national, multi-center ZUMA-1 trial, serving as the first cancer center to treat patients with axicabtagene ciloleucel in the investigational setting. Patients enrolled in the study, 108 in total, had large B cell lymphoma or its variants and not responded to their prior chemotherapy or were relapsed within 1 year of a stem cell transplant. The results of the ZUMA-1 trial supported FDA approval of the therapy in October 2017. Following approval, Moffitt was the first center to treat patients with standard of care axicabtagene ciloleucel.

CAR T is a personalized therapy using a patient's own immune cells, or T cells, to fight cancer. For this treatment, a patient's T cells are removed and engineered with additional receptors to help identify, attack and ultimately destroy the cancer cells. The re-engineered T cells are then infused back into the patient's body in a single treatment, enabling the body's immune system to better combat the disease.
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The study was funded by Kite Pharma, a Gilead company, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program. Locke serves as a scientific adviser for Kite Pharma.

About Moffitt Cancer Center

Moffitt is dedicated to one lifesaving mission: to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer. The Tampa-based facility is one of only 49 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers, a distinction that recognizes Moffitt's scientific excellence, multidisciplinary research, and robust training and education. Moffitt is a Top 10 cancer hospital and has been nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report since 1999. Moffitt devotes more than 2 million square feet to research and patient care. Moffitt's expert nursing staff is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center with Magnet® status, its highest distinction. With more than 5,700 team members, Moffitt has an economic impact in the state of $2.1 billion. For more information, call 1-888-MOFFITT (1-888-663-3488), visit MOFFITT.org, and follow the momentum on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

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