Mantle Cell Lymphoma: Research, Treatment, and Support at Weill Cornell Medicine

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.

ASCO 2021 – Lymphoma Updates

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. 

Samuel Yamshon, MD – 2021 ASCO Young Investigator Award Recipient

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. 

Dr. John Leonard reviews an National Cancer Institute (NCI)-supported clinical trial evaluating the role of stem cell transplant in primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma treatment. 

Dr. Richard Furman explains exciting results from a phase 3 clinical trial comparing two different treatment options for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) for the first time.

Additionally, Dr. Peter Martin breaks down mantle cell lymphoma research evaluating the role of botezomib when added to bendamustine and rituximab as induction therapy.

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. 

Initial Treatment with Lenalidomide Plus Rituximab for Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL): 7-Year Analysis from a Multi-Center Phase II Study

At the 2020 Annual Meeting of the American Hematology Society (ASH), the Weill Cornell Medicine mantle cell lymphoma research team presented the 7-year long-term outcome analysis of the first study of a non-chemotherapy frontline treatment regimen with lenalidomide plus rituximab as induction and maintenance therapy for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).  

The multi-center phase 2 study, led by study chair Dr. Jia Ruan, was initiated in 2011 and previously reported early efficacy in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) and 5-year follow-up results in Blood, which was highly effective with an overall response rate (ORR) of 92%, and complete response (CR) of 64%. It was also well tolerated, with durable responses, including the 5-year progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of 64% and 77% respectively. Dr. Samuel Yamshon, a second-year hematology and medical oncology fellow at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital led the oral presentation of the 7-year follow up analysis at this year’s ASH meeting.

The study treatment is conveniently administered in the outpatient setting, with the oral agent lenalidomide given on days 1-21 of a 28-day cycle and rituximab provided once very other cycle during maintenance. The treatment continues until progression of disease, with an option to stop therapy after 3 years of remission.

A total of 38 clinical trial participants were enrolled at four participating centers across the United States. Of the 36 evaluable patients, 19 (53%) of the patients remain in remission, including 12 (33%) beyond 7 years. Of the patients in remission, 10 remain on treatment, while 9 patients in remission opted to stop therapy after at least 3 years of study treatment due to side effects or patient preference. The median progression free survival (PFS) and duration of response have not been reached. The 7-year PFS rate was estimated at 60%, and 7-year OS rates at 73%. With long-term maintenance treatment, there were no new safety concerns, and close follow up limited toxicity for those who wished to remain on therapy.

The long-term outcome of the lenalidomide plus rituximab regimen represents a major stride in the treatment and care of MCL patients – a population of patients who harbor a rare and generally incurable disease where intensive chemotherapy regimens do not necessarily translate into cure and may not be tolerated by all. It is notable that this combination therapy offers a chemotherapy-free initial treatment approach that compares favorably in outcome to conventional chemotherapy-based regimens such as bendamustine-rituximab, VR-CAP, and R-CHOP with rituximab maintenance. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has incorporated this evidence into their treatment guidelines for MCL patients. The Weill Cornell Lymphoma Program researchers concluded that the evaluation of this active regimen in larger, randomized frontline trials comparing novel agents with chemoimmunotherapy is warranted. 

704 Initial Treatment with Lenalidomide Plus Rituximab for Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL): 7-Year Analysis from a Multi-Center Phase II Study
Type: Oral presentation
Session: 623. Mantle Cell and Indolent B-Cell Lymphoma – CAR-T and immunotherapy clinical studies

Monday, December 7, 2020: 2:30 PM 

ASH 2020 Weill Cornell Medicine Lymphoma Program Conference Coverage
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