CAR T for Large B Cell Lymphoma: Researchers Identify Key Characteristics Associated with Improved Outcomes

January, 2024.

CAR T-cell therapy, a groundbreaking treatment for certain blood cancers, has recently been approved as a second-line treatment for specific patients. This follows a study, ZUMA-7, which showed that CAR T (specifically axi-cel) was more effective than traditional therapies in treating large B-cell lymphoma. Axi-cel targets a specific molecule on the cancer cells and was found to significantly reduce the risk of the cancer progressing or the patient dying, compared to standard treatments.

However, not all patients responded well to axi-cel. Dr. Frederick L. Locke and his team at Moffitt Cancer Center discovered that the effectiveness of axi-cel is related to certain genes and proteins in the patient's tumor. Patients with certain gene patterns or lower levels of a specific protein didn't respond as well to axi-cel. This suggests that understanding the tumor's genetic makeup is crucial in determining the success of the treatment. The study also highlighted the importance of using axi-cel early in the treatment process for better outcomes.

Interestingly, while certain tumor characteristics predicted poorer outcomes with standard therapies, these did not affect the outcomes with axi-cel. This indicates that axi-cel might be effective even when traditional treatments fail. Dr. Locke emphasized that understanding the tumor's interaction with the immune system is key to improving CAR T-cell therapy and designing future treatments. This research, funded by Kite, a Gilead Company, could lead to more personalized and effective treatment plans for patients.

Source: Moffitt Cancer Center