24 February 2020

Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy for adults with lymphoma not only extends their chances of survival, but also improves their quality of life, according to a new study.

US research, published in Blood Advances, evaluated quality of life in adult patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) who were undergoing treatment with the CAR-T therapy tisagenlecleucel – also known as Kymriah.

Patients were asked to report on their quality of life using two tools. One assessed physical, social, emotional, and functional well-being as well as disease- and treatment-related symptoms. The second tool focused on physical and social function, health perception, and mental health.

Data were collected prior to treatment, and then again at months 3, 6, 12, and 18 following treatment, unless the patients discontinued participation in the study, or their disease progressed.

Out of 108 evaluated patients, 57 achieved a complete or partial response to tisagenlecleucel treatment. Baseline scores on patient-reported quality of life outcomes were similar between the total patient population and those who responded to the therapy.

However, responsive patients demonstrated continued improvement in quality of life measures over time. Researchers found that compared to baseline, their most significant improvements were in areas of general health, vitality, physical function, and social function.

Dr Richard Maziarz, of Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine, said: “Many patients with this advanced level of disease become depressed and withdrawn, but here patients reported improved functional status, physical capabilities, and ability to interact with people.

“As we progress in our capacity to offer therapies to treat cancers, we have to ask: is it enough to just have our patients in remission or alive, or do we want them to be able to truly live again, and to re-enter society with full function?”

Prior to the advent of CAR-T and other forms of cellular immunotherapy, patients with advanced DLBCL had often already exhausted the limited treatment options available to them.

Source: Maziarz RT, Waller EK, Jaeger U, Fleury I, McGuirk J, Holte H, Jaglowski S, Schuster SJ, Bishop MR, Westin JR, Mielke S, Teshima T, Bachanova V, Foley SR, Borchmann P, Salles GA, Zhang J, Tiwari R, Pacaud LB, Ma Q, Tam CS (2020) “Patient-reported long-term quality of life after tisagenlecleucel in relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma”, Blood Advances, doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2019001026

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