Raising Awareness of CAR T-Cell Therapy for Advanced MCL

Michael Wang, MD, discusses the growing awareness of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy among community oncologists and patients with mantle cell lymphoma.

Michael Wang, MD, professor in the Department of Lymphoma & Myeloma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, discusses the growing awareness of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy among community oncologists and patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

CAR T-cell therapies modify the patient’s T cells to target the CD19 protein expressed in cancer cells, which can lead to long-term remission in patients with advanced MCL, according to Wang.

CAR-T cell therapy using brexucabtagene autoleucel (Tecartus) was approved in July 2020 for patients with relapsed or refractory MCL, based on the ZUMA-2 clinical trial led by Wang. In the trial, 87% of patients had a response to CAR T-cell therapy and 62% had a complete response. While CAR T-cell treatments have a high toxicity, the study showed that it can be balanced to achieve remission.

According to Wang, some oncologists continue to use other therapies in advanced MCL, which including autologous stem cell transplant and chemoimmunotherapy. However, he says that awareness of CAR T-cell therapy is spreading. Community oncologists are now better informed about its efficacy and safety, and in addition, patients and their families are seeking out specialists when they learn about the availability of the therapy.

TRANSCRIPTION:


0:08 | Since the approval a little more than a year ago, I have started receiving referrals from the community oncologists for their patients to be considered [for] CAR T-cell therapy. I think yes, there are still oncologists using the older therapies. But I think the knowledge gap is closing very rapidly and everybody has heard about the CAR T cells. Sometimes, before the doctors realize, the patient already requested it, and the patient is in a very educated population. The patient, and very likely their young families, are searching the computer, Google, the web, all the time for knowledge of MCL, [for] new therapies, and [they have] contacted people like me and other doctors for us to see their family members with MCL. I really think that [news of] the CAR T-cell therapies’ efficacy and safety will continue to spread, [and] the usage of it will continue to rise. So I think the future is bright.