Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is an uncommon form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that is tied to genetic changes in the white blood cells which makes them continually divide and accumulate within the body. MCL affects approximately 4,000 new patients each year. This form of blood cancer is unique and behaves differently in different people, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan for all those with MCL. Each patient should undergo an evaluation for a personalized approach. Because of the diversity seen within MCL cases, this disease can be difficult to treat. However, with the help of an expert care team and research advances, new treatment milestones have been making improved outcomes possible. Listen as members of our expert team explain more about this uncommon disease here: What is Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)?
The Weill Cornell Medicine (WCM) Lymphoma Program team has niche expertise in caring for patients with MCL and has been recognized as a worldwide leader in MCL research and treatment. Weill Cornell lymphoma experts utilize precision medicine and cutting-edge technologies to tailor treatments to the biological characteristics of each patient’s tumor. Hear more about the specifics of our specialized MCL program directly from some of our team members in this video about the Weill Cornell Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) Program.
As part of our extensive MCL research program, MCL patients are offered access to sophisticated and precise minimal residual disease (MRD) testing that can detect lingering mantle cells in the body at a threshold of less than one in one million. MRD testing uses blood or bone marrow samples to determine if there are remaining cancer cells that may not be detected by typical scans or blood tests. This allows our physicians to assess how well the current treatment method is working, providing evidence to better tailor the approach depending on results. Some of our expert team members further break down the basics of MRD in this video. Watch to learn more: What is Minimal Residual Disease (MRD)?
Because of the disease diversity seen in many MCL cases, patients often require repeated therapies or novel approaches to treatment. Patients seen by the Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program team benefit from the expertise of physicians and researchers working together behind-the-scenes in a collaborative effort to offer the latest research and treatments to patients. Our team prides itself on our wide-range clinical trial options for patients with mantle cell lymphoma. These research studies are aimed at finding the best ways to improve the quality and length of life for all patients with MCL.
WCM is positioned as a renowned leader in mantle cell lymphoma research thanks in part to generous funding support from leading organizations including the National Cancer Institute, the Lymphoma Research Foundation, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Weill Cornell has dedicated research initiatives focused exclusively on mantle cell lymphoma and designed to develop the most effective MCL treatments by understanding the genetic underpinnings driving the disease. Learn more about Weill Cornell’s globally recognized MCL research program here: Weill Cornell Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL) Research.
A diagnosis with MCL can be shocking, scary, and may feel isolating at times, but the Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program is available to help patients and caregivers navigate this diagnosis and course of care by offering new patient appointments, second opinions and ongoing care for people with mantle cell lymphoma. To learn more or to make an appointment with one of our physicians, visit WeillCornell.org/Lymphoma or call (646) 962-2064.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading organization for physicians and oncology professionals caring for people with cancer. The 2021 Annual Meeting was hosted virtually, connecting oncology professionals from around the world to discuss the newest, state-of-the-art research and treatment updates.
The Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program team is always proud of our contributions to new lymphoma research presentations at the ASCO Annual Meeting. We’ve outlined some of the highlights from this year’s conference, including research updates and new discoveries from our team. Additionally, our Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hematology & Oncology Fellow Dr. Sam Yamshon received a prestigious ASCO Conquer Cancer Foundation 2021 Young Investigator Award to support critical lymphoma research and the transition from fellowship to faculty.
Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program Chief Dr. Peter Martin presented new mantle cell lymphoma research and shared important insights about care in the community or real-world setting as part of an oral abstract session.
PET scan imaging during treatment for bulky Hodgkin lymphoma can provide critical information to shape the course of care. Dr. John Leonard breaks down this NCI-supported ALLIANCE research presented this year’s ASCO meeting.
On January 19, 2017, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ibrutinib to treat patients that have received at least one line of prior therapy for marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).
MZL is an indolent B-cell lymphoma that accounts for 5-10% of all lymphomas and lacks a standard of care. Current MZL treatments include anti-CD-20 antibody therapy (e.g. rituximab) or chemotherapy. However, ibrutinib is the first-ever treatment to specifically be approved for MZL.
Ibrutinib works by inhibiting Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), an enzyme responsible for transmitting pro-growth and survival signals from the surface of a cell to its nucleus. In this way, ibrutinib may interfere with chronic stimulation arising from inflammation in the tumor microenvironment; thus slowing the growth of B-cells.
The Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program is proud to have played a role in the phase 2 trial — the largest trial to date for people with previously treated MZL of all subtypes —leading to FDA approval for ibrutinib. Roughly half of all patients had a significant response to ibrutinib, with some degree of tumor shrinkage observed in almost 80% of all patients in the trial. Roughly one-third remained on treatment 18 months after beginning treatment.
The most common side effects included fatigue, diarrhea, and anemia. These side effects were manageable, and consistent with previous research, although some cases required the discontinuation of treatment with ibrutinib.
Results from this study support the use of ibrutinib as an effective well tolerated chemotherapy-free option for the treatment of previously treated MZL. However, some questions remain. MZL is a heterogeneous group of lymphomas, and it is unclear which subtypes might respond best to ibrutinib. With only half of all previously treated MZL patients responding to ibrutinib, improvements might be realized by combining ibrutinib with other drugs and/or using it earlier in the treatment of MZL.