Exploring the Use of Tisagenlecleucel for Patients With Lymphoma

Stephen J. Schuster, MD, discusses tisagenlecleucel in adult patients with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma in the phase 2 Elara trial and the 5-year follow-up of a smaller CAR T-cell trial.

Stephen J. Schuster, MD, director of the Lymphoma Program, director of Translational Research, and Robert and Margarita Louis-Dreyfus Professor in Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Lymphoma Clinical Care and Research at the University of Pennsylvania, discusses tisagenlecleucel (tisa-cel) in adult patients with relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma in the phase 2 Elara trial (NCT03568461) and the 5-year follow-up of a smaller CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell trial.

For patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who progress on other lines of therapy, tisa-cel offers a new treatment approach. Schuster says the Elara study is important because this treatment is completely biologically based, so patients with prior responses chemotherapy or who are resistant to chemotherapy will still be able to respond to tisa-cel. This cellular immunotherapy is agnostic, so the factors that go into progressing on conventional agents no longer apply when using this therapy.

Schuster and his fellow investigators piloted this approach with tisa-cel starting in 2014 in patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and follicular lymphoma. There were 14 patients with follicular lymphoma who required this advanced treatment. About 2 thirds of those patients are still in remission at 5 years, according to Schuster. These data were published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier in 2021.