The following article features coverage from the European Hematology Association (EHA) 2021 Virtual Congress. Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor‘s conference coverage.

Axicabtagene ciloleucel (axi-cel) appears to be both safe and effective for treating relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma (FL), according to research presented at the European Hematology Association (EHA) 2021 Virtual Congress.

The phase 2 ZUMA-5 trial ( Identifier: NCT03105336) previously demonstrated that axi-cel, a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy targeting CD19, showed a high overall response rate and a long duration of response in patients with relapsed/refractory FL, including in patients with high-risk disease.

In this presentation, the authors reported comparative clinical outcomes from updated ZUMA-5 data and the international SCHOLAR-5 cohort.

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Data from the SCHOLAR-5 cohort were taken from 7 institutions and included data from a previous trial of idelalisib. Patients in SCHOLAR-5 had received a third-line or later therapy after July 2014. Patient characteristics were balanced between the ZUMA-5 and SCHOLAR-5 cohorts.

Overall, data from 86 patients in ZUMA-5 and 85 patients in SCHOLAR-5 were included. The median follow-up times were 23.3 months and 26.2 months, respectively. The SCHOLAR-5 cohort had more patients with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group score of 1 at baseline, despite attempts to match characteristics.

In patients who had received at least 2 prior lines of therapy, the overall response rates were 49.9% in SCHOLAR-5 and 94.2% in ZUMA-5 (odds ratio, 16.2; 95% CI, 5.6-46.9).

The median progression-free survival and overall survival periods were not reached in ZUMA-5, and were 12.7 months and 59.8 months, respectively, in SCHOLAR-5. The corresponding hazard ratios for progression-free and overall survival were 0.30 (95% CI, 0.18-0.49) and 0.42 (95% CI, 0.21-0.83), respectively.

“These data support that axi-cel represents a significant improvement in treatment options for patients with relapsed/refractory FL,” the presenter said.

Disclosure: The presenter declared affiliations with AstraZeneca, Kite, A Gilead Company, Gilead, Abbvie, Bristol Myers Squibb, MorphoSys, Novartis, Takeda, TG Therapeutics, Janssen.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s coverage of the EHA 2021 Virtual Congress by visiting the conference page.


Ghione P, Anik Patel A, Bobillo S, et al. A comparison of clinical outcomes from ZUMA-5 (axicabtagene ciloleucel) and the international SCHOLAR-5 external control cohort in relapsed/refractory follicular lymphoma (R/R FL). Paper presented at: European Hematology Association 2021 Virtual Congress; June 2021; Abstract LB1904.