ASH: Roche's antibody-drug conjugate Polivy added to chemo-antibody combo boosts survival in early-stage lymphoma
Breakthroughs in drug development have begun to unlock the potential of antibody-drug conjugates, therapies designed to better target proteins on tumor cells. Genentech’s Polivy has become an early winner in blood cancer, and now the drugmaker is revealing promising results in getting into patients even sooner.
A combination of Roche’s Polivy, an ADC targeting the CD79b protein on tumor cells, with Rituxan and the chemotherapy regimen R-CHOP cut the risk of disease progression or death over Rituxan-chemo alone by 27% in patients with first-line diffuse large B cell lymphoma, according to late-breaking data presented Tuesday at #ASH21.
In the 879-enrollee Phase III POLARIX study, patients dosed with the Polivy combo showed significant improvement on median progression-free survival at a 28.2-month check-in, Genentech said.
Meanwhile, the ADC-based combo posted a Grade 3-4 side effect rate of 57.7% compared with 57.5% for the SOC chemo combo. Three percent of patients died in the treatment arm compared with 2.4% in control, and 9.2% of patients in the Polivy arm discontinued due to dosing compared with 13% in the Rituxan-chemo arm.
These full data back up topline results that were released back in August, with Roche touting Polivy’s chances at significantly extending patients’ lives for a disease in which four of 10 patients eventually relapse after treatment with SOC in the first-line setting. The drug works by targeting CD79b on the surface of B cells and delivering an anti-cancer agent to the site.
Polivy was developed from ADC technology at Seagen. Roche has already submitted what it had on hand with global health regulators, with these results backing up those filings.
The current generation of ADCs has shown some significant breakthroughs in the treatment of solid tumors, including drugs like AstraZeneca and Daiichi Sankyo’s Enhertu, which targets the HER2 protein on tumors. Meanwhile, in blood cancer, a new generation of ADCs has recently broken through, including Polivy, which was initially approved in 2019 in combination with Rituxan as a treatment for relapsed or refractory DLBCL.
These newest data also add more validity to targeting CD79b as part of a range of cancer combinations, potentially offering physicians more paths to killing tumors. In lymphoma, CD19 and CD20 have cemented themselves as the most prolific targets among cancer drugs, but Roche has looked to partner up Polivy alongside Rituxan, itself a CD20 monoclonal antibody, among other team-ups.
Those combo studies include combining Polivy with Genentech’s in-house bispecific antibodies mosunetuzumab and glofitamab, both of which target CD20. The drugmaker is also looking at Polivy combos with the BCL-2 inhibitor venetoclax, and with Rituxan in combination with chemotherapies gemcitabine and oxaliplatin in the Phase III POLARGO study.