Lenalidomide in addition to a chemotherapy combination known as R-CHOP is in clinical development for newly diagnosed, previously untreated adult patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) of the subtype known as activated B-cells (ABC) type. DLBCL is a cancer affecting a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes or B-cells. It is the most common form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma among adults. DLBCL is an aggressive cancer and although it can be cured in more than half of people affected, it remains a serious and life threatening disease. Treatment does not work as well for patients with the ABC type compared to patients with other DLBCL types who receive standard treatment.
Lenalidomide is a derivative of thalidomide and in DLBCL works by blocking the development of tumour cells, preventing the growth of blood vessels within tumours and stimulating some of the specialised cells of the immune system to attack the cancerous cells. It is administered orally in addition to current standard of therapy R-CHOP. The addition of lenalidomide to R-CHOP for this population subgroup may improve effectiveness and prognosis.
Pembrolizumab is an immunomodulatory medicinal product, meaning that it helps the immune system to recognise and attack cancer cells. It is administered by intravenous infusion and is currently licensed in the UK for melanoma, non-small cell lung cancer and urothelial cancer – amongst others. If licensed, pembrolizumab, in addition to chemotherapy, would offer an alternative treatment for those with advanced, recurrent or metastatic cervical cancer.