Kymriah Effective for Pretreated Follicular Lymphoma

Currently, there are a number of treatment options for patients with follicular lymphoma. But for patients whose condition has relapsed despite prior treatments, there are very limited therapeutic options. After two or three previous therapies, it can be difficult to cure or even treat follicular lymphoma. Those with heavily pretreated cancer may experience short periods of remission, meaning there is a huge unmet need. According to Cure Today, however, there may be an effective option for this group: Kymriah. Following a research study, Dr. Nathan Fowler from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center suggests that Kymriah could provide immense benefits to patients and improve both quality-of-life and outcomes. 


To begin, let’s look at what Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) is. According to the Kymriah website, Kymriah is:

made from your own white blood cells and is a prescription cancer treatment.

This CAR-T cell therapy has already been approved for patients with relapsing or refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and relapsing or refractory large B cell lymphoma. 

Within this newer study, researchers sought to evaluate the efficacy of Kymriah for those with heavily pretreated follicular lymphoma. Altogether, 97 patients enrolled. Findings include:

  • Initially, 31 patients had a partial response, though 15 of those (48.3%) eventually achieved a complete response.
  • The complete response rate seen in the trial was 69.1%. Following treatment, the progression-free survival rate after one year was 85.5%. This means that 85.5% of patients did not have their cancer progress during that year. 
  • Kymriah was relatively safe and well-tolerated. However, some adverse reactions did occur. These include:
    • Neutropenia (low white blood cell count)
    • Cytokine release syndrome
    • Neurological issues
    • Immune effector cell-associated neurologic toxicity syndrome 

About Follicular Lymphoma

Follicular lymphoma exists under the umbrella of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), a cancer affecting the lymphatic system. Altogether, the cancer forms in B-lymphocytes. Normally, these cells create antibodies to help fight infections and foreign invaders. But mutations in B cells cause rapid growth and division, crowding healthy cells out of the lymphatic system. This slow-growing cancer typically forms in lymph nodes and bone marrow throughout the body. Most often, follicular lymphoma affects older individuals. Symptoms include:

  • Fatigue and general malaise
  • Appetite loss
  • Shortness of breath
  • Night sweats
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes (often in the neck, abdomen, groin, or underarms)
  • Unintended weight loss

Learn more about follicular lymphoma.

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn

Jessica Lynn has an educational background in writing and marketing. She firmly believes in the power of writing in amplifying voices, and looks forward to doing so for the rare disease community.

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