The landscape of new drugs in extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma


Wang L, et al. Cancer Treat Rev 2020 - Review.


To date, much progress has been made in early-stage extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma (ENKTCL), and risk-adapted therapy with radiotherapy (RT) alone for the low-risk group and RT combined with asparaginase-based chemotherapy (CT) for the high-risk group yields favorable outcomes. However, optimal treatment strategies have not been defined yet for advanced-stage ENKTCL. Historically, ENKTCL responded poorly to conventional anthracycline-based chemotherapy probably because of inherent multidrug

resistance (MDR). The fact that ENKTCL cells lack asparagine synthetase (ASNS) activity warranted the use of L-asparaginase or pegaspargase as frontline chemotherapies. Even though, due to high mortality of the disease, approximately 50% patients failing the frontline therapy arrived at dismal clinical outcomes with a median progression-free survival (PFS) less than 8 months. As distinctive molecular and biological subgroups are increasingly discovered within the disease entity of ENKTCL, novel targeted therapies and immunotherapy are of the urgent need for those heterogeneous subgroups. In this review, we sought to summarize the preclinical and clinical results of 6 categories of promising targeted therapy and immunotherapy for the treatment of ENKTCL, including monoclonal antibodies, immune checkpoint inhibitors, small-molecular inhibitors, epigenetic therapy, immunomodulatory drugs, and adoptive T-cell therapy, and these might change the landscape of treatment for ENKTCL in the near future.