John M. Pagel, MD, PhD, on Polatuzumab Vedotin


The Swedish Cancer Center expert discussed the addition of polatuzumab vedotin to a bendamustine-rituximab regimen at the ASH Annual Meeting & Exposition.

At the 61st American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, held December 7-10 in Orlando, Florida, John M. Pagel, MD, PhD, from the Swedish Cancer Center, discussed the recent approval of polatuzumab vedotin (Polivy) in combination with bendamustine plus rituximab (Rituxan; BR) in patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

You know, I think the good news, of course, is that we continue to have very positive outcomes for the vast majority of patients who have large cell lymphoma. Of course, we also have room to go, we need to continue to improve our outcomes.

I think one of the nice things that we have had recently is the addition of polatuzumab to bendamustine-rituximab in the relapsed patient population. We clearly know that it's an active regimen, it's really relatively well tolerated, and I think the biggest benefit that we're gaining from that is using it as a bridge to a more definitive, potentially curative therapy. And in particular, that would be a CAR T-cell treatment or perhaps an autologous transplant. But as you and many other people know, is that when people relapse with their large cell lymphoma, they're often not going to be tremendously responsive to chemotherapy again. Even if it's nominally changed, let's say they got R-CHOP, and if they had a very short remission, or they never had a remission, giving just another regimen like BR may not be particularly helpful.

So, adding another agentpolatuzamab in this examplemakes a lot of sense. And if there's even some synergistic action there, that we can actually get responses that will not lead to a cure but will lead to an opportunity to get that I think. And so it's an important regimen to keep in mind in that regard.

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