Immunotherapy blinatumomab brings hope to ALL patients

10 Jun 2016

Adult patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) can achieve disease control in 90% of cases with intense chemotherapy but only half of these responders will be cured. For patients who are either refractory or relapse after chemotherapy the outcome is dismal despite undergoing more chemotherapy and/or an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Immunotherapy offers a new treatment option. This can be delivered by the bispecific antibody construct blinatumomab, which can engage with patients own T cells to fight ALL cells.

A single arm Phase 2 trials with blinatumomab has shown that 43% of relapsed or refractory (r/r) ALL patients can achieve disease control. The aim of Tower trial was to answer the question if blinatumomab can achieve a survival benefit in adult patients with r/r acute lymphoblastic leukemia compared to standard chemotherapy (SOC).

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Proven survival benefit for relapsed ALL patients

More than 400 r/r ALL patients in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia were randomized 2:1 to receive either blinatumomab or SOC. The trial was stopped prematurely as blinatumomab demonstrated almost doubling of the overall survival when compared to chemotherapy. This benefit was seen in all subgroup of patients including patients who relapsed after an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and/or who have received multiple different chemotherapy regiments.

Blinatumomab treatment did not result in more serious side effects than chemotherapy. In conclusion blinatumomab is the first immunotherapy agent that has proven to extend patients life with relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia when compared to chemotherapy.

Source: eCancer News

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