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Pfizer Announces Promising Results from Adcetris® Trial for DLBCL Lymphoma Patients


12 March 2024

Pfizer announced significant findings from its Phase 3 ECHELON-3 trial, showing that Adcetris® in combination with lenalidomide and rituximab markedly enhances survival rates for patients with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) over standard care. This landmark achievement promises new treatment possibilities for patients battling this aggressive form of cancer.

DLBCL, the most common lymphoma type, affects thousands every year, with approximately 40% of patients not responding to initial treatments or experiencing relapse post-treatment. The ECHELON-3 trial shines a ray of hope, showcasing a statistically significant improvement in overall survival rates for patients treated with a combination of Adcetris® (brentuximab vedotin), lenalidomide, and rituximab compared to a control group receiving lenalidomide and rituximab with a placebo.

This combination therapy also showed promising results in key secondary endpoints, such as progression-free survival and overall response rate. These outcomes are particularly noteworthy as they were achieved across patients with varying degrees of CD30 expression, potentially broadening the applicability of this treatment approach.

Dr. Roger Dansey, Pfizer’s Chief Development Officer for Oncology, emphasized the significance of these results, stating, “This is the third Phase 3 study in a type of lymphoma to demonstrate an overall survival benefit for an Adcetris combination. Based on the strong results from ECHELON-3, we’re excited that Adcetris could address an area of high unmet need in patients with relapsed or refractory DLBCL irrespective of CD30 expression. The results are particularly encouraging because the study evaluated heavily pre-treated patients, including some who received prior CAR-T therapy.”

Adcetris, a therapy initially approved in 2011, has become a cornerstone in the treatment of various lymphomas, benefiting over 55,000 patients in the U.S. alone and more than 140,000 globally. Its mechanism, targeting CD30-positive tumor cells to release the potent agent monomethyl auristatin E (MMAE), represents a sophisticated approach to cancer therapy, combining precision targeting with powerful cytotoxic effects.

The ECHELON-3 trial's success not only paves the way for Adcetris to potentially secure its eighth indication but also reinforces the role of combination therapies in tackling high-grade lymphomas. By demonstrating a clear survival benefit, this study may significantly influence future treatment paradigms for DLBCL.

Pfizer and Takeda have been at the forefront of Adcetris's development and distribution. According to their partnership, Pfizer oversees the drug's commercialization in the U.S. and Canada, while Takeda manages its availability across other global markets.

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