In a nutshell
The study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of blinatumomab (Blincyto) in patients with relapsed or unresponsive B-acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) outside of clinical trials. The authors found that blinatumomab was safe and effective to treat such patients in real-world medical practice.
Relapsed B-ALL refers to leukemia’s return after initial treatment. Refractory means leukemia is unresponsive to any standard treatment. Despite disappearance of cancer symptoms with effective initial treatments, most patients experience a relapse of B-ALL.
Blinatumomab is an immunotherapy. It works by stimulating certain immune cells to attack cancer cells. Blinatumomab showed significant progress in treating such patients in clinical trials. However, real-world data on blinatumomab therapy are lacking.
Methods & findings
The medical records of 21 patients with relapsed or refractory B-ALL were evaluated. The average time from diagnosis to relapse was 10 months. Blinatumomab was given to all patients. The average follow-up was 12.4 months.
Out of 17 patients with B-ALL’s relapse in blood, 8 had no detectable cancer after blinatumomab therapy. This is called a complete response (CR). CR was maintained in a total of 75% of patients. Patients survived for an average of 15.2 months in general and an average of 8.7 months without leukemia.
Blinatumomab treatment was also well tolerated among patients. Neurologic side effects were reported in 10%, digestive system problems in 14% and immune system side effects in 19%.
The bottom line
The study concluded that treatment with blinatumomab was safe and effective in patients with relapsed or refractory B-ALL in a real-world setting. This data also matched with the results of blinatumomab's clinical trials.
The fine print
This study analyzed medical data of a small number of patients from Israel only. Further larger studies on mode diverse populations are needed for stronger evidence.
Published By :
Annals of Hematology
Feb 20, 2020