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Concept: Follicular lymphoma


Background Patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or follicular lymphoma that is refractory to or that relapses after immunochemotherapy and transplantation have a poor prognosis. High response rates have been reported with the use of T cells modified by chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that target CD19 in B-cell cancers, although data regarding B-cell lymphomas are limited. Methods We used autologous T cells that express a CD19-directed CAR (CTL019) to treat patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or follicular lymphoma that had relapsed or was refractory to previous treatments. Patients were monitored for response to treatment, toxic effects, the expansion and persistence of CTL019 cells in vivo, and immune recovery. Results A total of 28 adult patients with lymphoma received CTL019 cells, and 18 of 28 had a response (64%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 44 to 81). Complete remission occurred in 6 of 14 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (43%; 95% CI, 18 to 71) and 10 of 14 patients with follicular lymphoma (71%; 95% CI, 42 to 92). CTL019 cells proliferated in vivo and were detectable in the blood and bone marrow of patients who had a response and patients who did not have a response. Sustained remissions were achieved, and at a median follow-up of 28.6 months, 86% of patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who had a response (95% CI, 33 to 98) and 89% of patients with follicular lymphoma who had a response (95% CI, 43 to 98) had maintained the response. Severe cytokine-release syndrome occurred in 5 patients (18%). Serious encephalopathy occurred in 3 patients (11%); 2 cases were self-limiting and 1 case was fatal. All patients in complete remission by 6 months remained in remission at 7.7 to 37.9 months (median, 29.3 months) after induction, with a sustained reappearance of B cells in 8 of 16 patients and with improvement in levels of IgG in 4 of 10 patients and of IgM in 6 of 10 patients at 6 months or later and in levels of IgA in 3 of 10 patients at 18 months or later. Conclusions CTL019 cells can be effective in the treatment of relapsed or refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. High rates of durable remission were observed, with recovery of B cells and immunoglobulins in some patients. Transient encephalopathy developed in approximately one in three patients and severe cytokine-release syndrome developed in one in five patients. (Funded by Novartis and others; number, NCT02030834 .).

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, B cell, Types of cancer, Major histocompatibility complex, Lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma, B-cell lymphoma


Background In a phase 1 trial, axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel), an autologous anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, showed efficacy in patients with refractory large B-cell lymphoma after the failure of conventional therapy. Methods In this multicenter, phase 2 trial, we enrolled 111 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma, or transformed follicular lymphoma who had refractory disease despite undergoing recommended prior therapy. Patients received a target dose of 2×106 anti-CD19 CAR T cells per kilogram of body weight after receiving a conditioning regimen of low-dose cyclophosphamide and fludarabine. The primary end point was the rate of objective response (calculated as the combined rates of complete response and partial response). Secondary end points included overall survival, safety, and biomarker assessments. Results Among the 111 patients who were enrolled, axi-cel was successfully manufactured for 110 (99%) and administered to 101 (91%). The objective response rate was 82%, and the complete response rate was 54%.With a median follow-up of 15.4 months, 42% of the patients continued to have a response, with 40% continuing to have a complete response. The overall rate of survival at 18 months was 52%. The most common adverse events of grade 3 or higher during treatment were neutropenia (in 78% of the patients), anemia (in 43%), and thrombocytopenia (in 38%). Grade 3 or higher cytokine release syndrome and neurologic events occurred in 13% and 28% of the patients, respectively. Three of the patients died during treatment. Higher CAR T-cell levels in blood were associated with response. Conclusions In this multicenter study, patients with refractory large B-cell lymphoma who received CAR T-cell therapy with axi-cel had high levels of durable response, with a safety profile that included myelosuppression, the cytokine release syndrome, and neurologic events. (Funded by Kite Pharma and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Therapy Acceleration Program; ZUMA-1 number, NCT02348216 .).

Concepts: Medicine, Cancer, Response rate, B cell, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Thymus, Follicular lymphoma


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) constitutes a collection of lymphoproliferative disorders with widely varying biologic, histologic and clinical features. For the B-cell NHLs, great progress has been made due to the addition of monoclonal antibodies and, more recently, other novel agents such as B-cell receptor signaling inhibitors, immunomodulatory agents, and proteasome inhibitors. Autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (auto-HCT) offers the promise of cure or prolonged remission in some NHL patients. For some patients, however, auto-HCT may never be a viable option, while in others their disease may progress despite auto-HCT. In those settings, allogeneic HCT (allo-HCT) offers the potential for cure. Over the past 10-15 years, considerable progress has been made in the implementation of allo-HCT, such that this approach now is a highly effective therapy for patients up to (and even beyond) age 75. Recent advances in conventional lymphoma therapy, peri-transplant supportive care, patient selection, and donor selection (including the use of alternative hematopoietic cell donors), has allowed broader application of allo-HCT to NHL patients. As a result, an ever-increasing number of NHL patients over age 60-65 years stand to benefit from allo-HCT. In this review, we present data in support of the use of allo-HCT for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma. These histologies account for a large majority of allo-HCT performed for patients over 60 in the U.S. Where possible, we highlight available data in older patients. This body of literature strongly supports the concept that allo-HCT should be offered to fit patients well beyond age 65 and, accordingly, that this treatment should therefore be covered by their insurance carriers.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, Follicular lymphoma, Lymphoproliferative disorders, Mantle cell lymphoma, T-cell lymphoma


Advanced follicular lymphoma (FL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) are incurable diseases with conventional treatment. The high dose treatment (HDT) with autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT), however, offers a certain proportion of these patients the prospect of a prolonged disease-free and overall survival. The aim of this study was to investigate the event free survival (EFS) and overall survival (OS) in patients with FL and MCL treated with ASCT.

Concepts: Cancer, Disease, Cure, Chemotherapy, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma, Mantle cell lymphoma


Progress in whole-genome sequencing using short-read (e.g., <150 bp), next-generation sequencing technologies has reinvigorated interest in high-resolution physical mapping to fill technical gaps that are not well addressed by sequencing. Here, we report two technical advances in DNA nanotechnology and single-molecule genomics: (1) we describe a labeling technique (CRISPR-Cas9 nanoparticles) for high-speed AFM-based physical mapping of DNA and (2) the first successful demonstration of using DVD optics to image DNA molecules with high-speed AFM. As a proof of principle, we used this new "nanomapping" method to detect and map precisely BCL2-IGH translocations present in lymph node biopsies of follicular lymphoma patents. This HS-AFM "nanomapping" technique can be complementary to both sequencing and other physical mapping approaches.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, Cancer, Nanoparticle, Lymph node, Nanotechnology, Lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma


The role of autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (auto-HCT) in the management of indolent non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) is shrouded in controversy. The outcomes of conventional therapies for many indolent lymphoma subtypes have dramatically improved over the last several years with the use of monoclonal antibodies, maintenance therapy programs and with the incorporation of radio-immunoconjugates. These significant advances in the armamentarium of lymphoma therapeutics warrant reappraisal of the current role of auto-HCT in the treatment algorithm of indolent NHL. Prospective randomized studies comparing contemporary chemoimmunotherapies against auto-HCT are lacking, leading to significant debate about the role and timing of auto-HCT for indolent NHL in the modern era. Although autografting for follicular lymphoma (FL) in first remission has been largely abandoned, it remains a useful modality for relapsed disease, especially for the subgroup of patients who are not candidates for allogeneic transplantation with a curative intent. Auto-HCT can provide durable disease control in chemosensitive transformed FL and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) in first remission, with relatively low toxicity, and remains appropriate in chemoimmunotherapy era. Contemporary data are also reviewed to clarify the often underutilized role of autografting in relapsed MCL and other less frequent indolent NHL histologies. The biological basis of the increased risks of second malignancies with auto-HCT are reviewed to identify strategies designed to mitigate this risk by, for example, avoiding exposure to genotoxic agents, planning early stem cell collection/cryopreservation and minimizing the use of TBI with transplant conditioning, and so on. Genetic testing able to identify patients at high risk of therapy-related complications and novel post-transplant immune therapies with the potential of transforming autografting in indolent NHL from a remission-extending therapy to a curative modality are discussed to examine the possibly expanding role of auto-HCT for lymphoid malignancies in the coming years.

Concepts: Cancer, Bone marrow, Therapy, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Organ transplant, Follicular lymphoma, Mantle cell lymphoma


Lymphomatoid papulosis (LyP) belongs to the spectrum of primary cutaneous CD30-positive lymphoproliferative disorders. Clinically, LyP is characterized by a variable number of self-healing papulo-nodular lesions, with the typical waxing and waning course. Histologically, 4 types (A, B, C, and D) have been delineated. Angioinvasive growth and large ulcers are rare findings in LyP and simulate aggressive lymphoma. We retrospectively analyzed the clinicopathologic and molecular features of angioinvasive LyP in a series of 16 patients. This new form of LyP is characterized by oligolesional papules that rapidly ulcerate and evolve into large necrotic eschar-like lesions with a diameter of 1 to 4 cm and an angiocentric and angiodestructive infiltrate of small-sized to medium-sized atypical lymphocytes expressing CD30 and frequently CD8. As in other forms of LyP, the lesions underwent spontaneous regression after a few weeks. Recurrences were common, but the prognosis was excellent with no extracutaneous spread or disease-related deaths. Complete remission occurred in 9 of 16 patients (56%). This LyP variant should be distinguished from aggressive forms of angiocentric and angiodestructive and cytotoxic T-cell lymphomas. We propose the term LyP type E for this clinically and histologically unusual variant.

Concepts: Lymphocyte, Natural killer cell, B cell, Lymphoma, Cytotoxic T cell, Lymphomatoid papulosis, Follicular lymphoma, Lymphoproliferative disorders


Ag activation of the BCR may play a role in the pathogenesis of human follicular lymphoma (FL) and other B cell malignancies. However, the nature of the Ag(s) recognized by tumor BCRs has not been well studied. In this study, we used unbiased approaches to demonstrate that 42 (19.35%) of 217 tested FL Igs recognized vimentin as a shared autoantigen. The epitope was localized to the N-terminal region of vimentin for all vimentin-reactive tumor Igs. We confirmed specific binding to vimentin by using recombinant vimentin and by performing competitive inhibition studies. Furthermore, using indirect immunofluorescence staining, we showed that the vimentin-reactive tumor Igs colocalized with an anti-vimentin mAb in HEp-2 cells. The reactivity to N-terminal vimentin of IgG FL Igs was significantly higher than that of IgM FL Igs (30.4 versus 10%; p = 0.0022). However, vimentin-reactive FL Igs did not share CDR3 motifs and were not homologous. Vimentin was expressed in the T cell-rich regions of FL, suggesting that vimentin is available for binding with tumor BCRs within the tumor microenvironment. Vimentin was also frequently recognized by mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma Igs. Our results demonstrate that vimentin is a shared autoantigen recognized by nonstereotyped FL BCRs and by the Igs of mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma and suggest that vimentin may play a role in the pathogenesis of multiple B cell malignancies. These findings may lead to a better understanding of the biology and natural history of FL and other B cell malignancies.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Cancer, Immunology, Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma, Mantle cell lymphoma


Follicular lymphoma is an incurable B cell malignancy characterized by the t(14;18) translocation and mutations affecting the epigenome. Although frequent gene mutations in key signaling pathways, including JAK-STAT, NOTCH and NF-κB, have also been defined, the spectrum of these mutations typically overlaps with that in the closely related diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL). Using a combination of discovery exome and extended targeted sequencing, we identified recurrent somatic mutations in RRAGC uniquely enriched in patients with follicular lymphoma (17%). More than half of the mutations preferentially co-occurred with mutations in ATP6V1B2 and ATP6AP1, which encode components of the vacuolar H(+)-ATP ATPase (V-ATPase) known to be necessary for amino acid-induced activation of mTORC1. The RagC variants increased raptor binding while rendering mTORC1 signaling resistant to amino acid deprivation. The activating nature of the RRAGC mutations, their existence in the dominant clone and their stability during disease progression support their potential as an excellent candidate for therapeutic targeting.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene, Cancer, Mutation, Amino acid, Lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma


Ibrutinib has single agent activity of 22-68% in relapsed B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL). This study evaluated the safety and efficacy of ibrutinib combined with rituximab ® and bendamustine. Patients received R 375 mg/m(2) day 1, bendamustine 90 mg/m(2) days 1 and 2, and ibrutinib (280 or 560 mg) days 1-28 every 28 days for 6 cycles followed by ibrutinib alone until progression. Forty-eight patients enrolled, including 12 patients with follicular lymphoma (FL), 16 with diffuse large cell lymphoma (DLCL), and 17 with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). No dose limiting toxicities were observed. Patients received a median of 8 cycles, with 26 completing 6 cycles and continuing ibrutinib alone in cycles 7-34. The overall response rate (ORR) was 72%, with 52% complete responses (CR). By histology, the ORR was 94% (76% CR) in MCL, 37% (31% CR) in DLCL, and 90% (50% CR) in FL. Grade 3-4 toxicities included lymphopenia (77%), neutropenia (33%), thrombocytopenia (19%), and rash (25%). Median progression-free survival has not been reached (95% CI, 8.7 months - not reached). The recommended phase 2 dose of ibrutinib in combination with R-bendamustine in patients with NHL is 560 mg. The combination has promising efficacy, particularly in MCL and FL.

Concepts: Types of cancer, Lymphoma, Blood disorders, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, Follicular lymphoma, Mantle cell lymphoma