In a nutshell
This study examined how effective and safe tislelizumab (BGB-A317) is for patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin's lymphoma (cHL). The authors concluded that most patients responded to tislelizumab but also experienced side effects.
cHL is often treated with chemotherapy or stem cell transplantation. However, after initial treatment, the cancer may come back (relapse) or become refractory (stop responding to treatment). Treatment remains challenging for these patients. Other treatment options are needed for relapsed or refractory cHL.
In cHL, the cancer cells "switch off" healthy white blood cells using a molecule called PD-L1. This allows the cancer cells to hide from the body's immune system. Targeted therapies such as nivolumab (Opdivo) block the activity of PD-L1. This helps the immune system attack cancer cells. Tislelizumab is a similar drug under investigation. Whether tislelizumab is safe and effective for patients with relapsed or refractory cHL is unclear.
Methods & findings
70 patients with relapsed or refractory cHL received tislelizumab. 52.3% of these had refractory cHL. Patients were followed for an average of 9.79 months.
87.1% of patients (61 patients) responded to tislelizumab. All patients experienced a reduction in the amount of cancer and a complete response, where no cancer was found, was observed in 62.9% of patients (44 patients). The average time to results was 12 weeks.
9 months after treatment, 74.5% of patients did not have any tumor growth or spread. 98.6% of patients survived to 9 months when follow-up ended.
20 of the 25 patients (80%) who had refractory cHL had a complete response to tislelizumab.
92.9% of patients experienced side effects, with 21.4% experiencing serious side effects. The most common side effects were fever (54.3%), underactive thyroid (32.9%) and weight gain (30%). The most common serious side effects were chest infections (2 patients) and lung inflammation (2 patients). Allergic reactions to tislelizumab occurred in 38.6% of patients.
The bottom line
This study concluded that tislelizumab was effective for patients with relapsed or refractory cHL, with manageable side effects.
The fine print
The manufacturer of tislelizumab, BeiGene, funded this study. This study also had a small number of patients and a short follow-up period. More studies are needed to confirm these results.
Talk to your doctor about possible clinical trials that may provide more treatment options for relapsed or refractory cHL.
Published By :
Sep 13, 2019
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