Autologous Stem Cell Transplant at Key Point Remains Most Effective Therapy for Younger Mantle Cell Lymphoma Patients

PHILADELPHIA (December 10, 2017) – According to a new study, autologous hematopoietic cell transplant (HCT) administered in first remission led to longer overall survival in younger patients with mantle cell lymphoma. Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center analyzed data on more than 1,000 patients age 65 and younger who had been treated for mantle cell lymphoma at one of 24 academic medical centers in the U.S. and Canada between 2000 and 2015. They found that patients who received HCT once initial chemotherapy had caused remission experienced a 40 percent improvement in progression free survival and more than 20 increase in overall survival compared with eligible patients who did not receive it.

James Gerson, MD, a hematology/oncology fellow at Fox Chase, and lead author of this study, will present the findings at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual meeting in Atlanta in December.

The therapy they studied involves drawing and later reinfusing a patient’s own stem cells in order to rebuild the immune system after administering high-dose chemotherapy. This type of transplant allows faster blood count recovery and helps the body tolerate and recuperate from high doses of chemotherapy. It requires a hospital stay of several weeks, and then a recovery of up to three months.

“HCT is difficult therapy to endure, but it is effective, and our findings show that it should still be considered standard of care for younger fit patients,” said Stefan K. Barta, MD, lymphoma expert and transplant specialist at the Fox Chase-Temple University Hospital Bone Marrow Transplant Program. Barta is the principal investigator of the study.

About two-thirds of eligible patients in the study received HCT during the first remission. Among those who did not undergo such a transplant, the main reason was the preference of the treating physician. In nearly a quarter of cases where the transplant was not administered to an eligible patient, it was due to patient preference.

Gerson earned an ASH Abstract Achievement Award for this work. The ASH Abstract Achievement Award is a merit-based award for medical trainees, and it comes with a stipend to defray travel expenses to the annual meeting.

Mantle cell lymphoma is a rare subset of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. The American Cancer Society estimates there are about 4,000 new diagnoses of mantle cell lymphoma in the United States each year.

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fox Chase), which includes the Institute for Cancer Research and the American Oncologic Hospital and is a part of Temple Health, is one of the leading comprehensive cancer centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase is also one of just 10 members of the Alliance of Dedicated Cancer Centers. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence six consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach. It is the policy of Fox Chase Cancer Center that there shall be no exclusion from, or participation in, and no one denied the benefits of, the delivery of quality medical care on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity/expression, disability, age, ancestry, color, national origin, physical ability, level of education, or source of payment.

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