Pretreating Aggressive Lymphoma with Targeted Therapy Improves Chemo Effectiveness
New York, NY - Patients with an aggressive lymphoma that often relapses and kills within two years experienced a remission of their cancer and stayed disease-free as long as 28 months after taking a commercially-available drug that made chemotherapy more effective.
Researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, who led the study published in Cancer Discovery, say their strategy has the potential to change the standard of care for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and possibly other kinds of tumors.
The targeted drug they used, azacitidine, is designed to reawaken molecular mechanisms that typically trigger cell death but are switched off as cancer - including lymphoma - progresses. The research team discovered that pretreating aggressive lymphoma with azacitidine enables the death signal to turn back on when chemotherapy triggers it.
In a proof-of-concept, Phase 3 study of 12 high-risk DLBCL patients led by Dr. Peter Martin, assistant professor of medicine and a hematologist/oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, 11 achieved a complete remission of their cancer, and 10 remained cancer-free for up to 28 months. The patients were given low doses of azacitidine for five days before standard chemotherapy was used.
"To have any hope for helping patients with aggressive lymphoma, we need to make this resistant cancer sensitive to treatment. We found we could do this by reprogramming the cancer to a more benign disease, which can then respond to chemotherapy," says the study's senior investigator, Dr. Leandro Cerchietti, the Sackler Scholar in Biomedical and Physical Sciences and assistant professor of hematology and oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College, who also collaborated with the Medical College's Dr. Ari Melnick, the Gebroe Professor of Hematology and Oncology and professor of medicine. Continue>
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