Is there a role for immunomodulatory drugs in the treatment of mantle cell lymphoma?

Alexandra Albertsson-Lindblad, Mats Jerkeman


Although survival has improved in patients with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) during the last two decades, thanks to intensified approach upfront and with anti-CD20 targeted treatment, the disease is still regarded as incurable and for the elderly/unfit patient population, there is need for more tolerable and effective treatment options. Immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs) have demonstrated activity in MCL and could be regarded as attractive components of combinatory regimens for MCL, in light of their broad spectrum of activity and the potency to synergize with monoclonal antibody treatment. This review focus on the role of lenalidomide (L) as single agent in R/R MCL and in combinatory regimens. To date, one can conclude that L is an active agent in MCL, preferably when combined with anti-CD20 antibody, and may have a role as upfront treatment of elderly/unfit patients. Moreover, regimens including lenalidomide in combination with immunochemotherapy and in chemo-free regimens have shown activity, albeit associated with an increased risk of dose-limiting toxicity in untreated patient populations. Randomized trials evaluating the addition of L upfront, and phase I/II trials on L combined with other novel agents such as BTK- and bcl-2 inhibitors are underway and will further bring insight into the role of IMiDs in MCL.