Dr. Pagel on the Implications of Polatuzumab Vedotin Approval in DLBCL

John M. Pagel, MD, PhD, discusses the implications of the FDA approval of polatuzumab vedotin in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

John M. Pagel, MD, PhD, chief of the Hematologic Malignancies Program, and director, Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation Program, at Swedish Cancer Institute, discusses the implications of the approval of polatuzumab vedotin (Polivy) in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

On June 10, 2019, the FDA granted an accelerated approval to polatuzumab vedotin for use in combination with bendamustine and rituximab (Rituxan; BR) for the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL who have received at least 2 prior therapies.

The combination elicited a 40% complete response rate in patients in the phase 1b/2 GO29365 study (NCT02257567) versus 18% with BR alone (P = .026). No new safety signals emerged, and the regimen is generally well tolerated.

Polatuzumab vedotin may serve as a bridge to potentially curative therapies such as CAR T-cell therapy or autologous stem cell transplant, says Pagel.

Patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL who progress on chemotherapy are unlikely to derive significant benefit from additional chemotherapy, says Pagel. As such, adding polatuzumab vedotin, which demonstrated synergistic activity with BR, makes sense in this setting.

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