Polatuzumab vedotin in combination with rituximab and cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, prednisone/prednisolone (R-CHP) chemotherapy is in clinical development for patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) that has been untreated. DLBCL is a cancer affecting a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes or B-cells. 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, particularly when it relapses or does not respond to treatment.
Polatuzumab vedotin is a first-in-class drug specifically developed for the treatment of cancers that affect the blood and lymph system. It is an antibody that binds to CD79b, which is a protein on the surface of cancerous B-cells. It is administered as an intravenous infusion, absorbed by the cancer cells and the chemotherapy agent linked to the antibody releases inside the cancer cells, stops them from dividing and kills them. If licenced polatuzumab vedotin in addition to R-CHP would offer an additional treatment option for patients with untreated DLBCL.
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a type of cancer affecting white blood cells, which results in overproduction of faulty cells. These cells take over the bone marrow leading to anaemia, infection, bruising and bleeding. ALL is a rare condition, usually affecting more children than adults. Lymphoblastic lymphoma (LBL) is similar to ALL, they differ in where they often occur in the body (lymph nodes and thymus gland in LBL, and blood and bone marrow in ALL), and they are both treated in the same way.