A small study suggests that pembrolizumab may provide lasting remissions in some patients with NK-cell or T-cell lymphomas whose previous treatments failed.
Pembrolizumab is a type of immunotherapy. This type of treatment stimulates the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Pembrolizumab targets and blocks a protein called PD-1 on the surface of certain immune cells called T-cells. Blocking PD-1 triggers the T-cells to find and kill cancer cells.
The study indicates that the treatment could be an option for patients who have failed to respond to treatment. The report was published in the journal Blood.Those with NK or T-cell lymphomas who fail to respond to currently available therapies have had no other treatments to turn to. The study investigators gave seven men with NK- and T-cell lymphomas, all of whom had failed to respond to previous treatments, the checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab.
All of the patients responded to the pembrolizumab treatment. Two patients achieved a complete response, while three more had no signs of cancer when examined by imaging and clinical methods. The last two had a partial response.
After a median follow-up time of six months, five of the patients were still in complete remission and one patient had died due to a bleeding stomach ulcer.
The only adverse event seen during the trial was a moderately severe rash, caused by an immune reaction. The side-effect could, however, be managed with corticosteroids and the patient continued the pembrolizumab treatment.