Combined epigenetic and immunotherapy for blastic and classical mantle cell lymphoma

Francis R. LeBlanc, Zainul S. Hasanali, August Stuart, Sara Shimko, Kamal Sharma, Violetta V. Leshchenko, Samir Parekh, Haiqing Fu, Ya Zhang, Melvenia M. Martin, Mark Kester, Todd Fox, Jiangang Liao, Thomas P. Loughran, Juanita Evans, Jeffrey J. Pu, Stephen E. Spurgeon, Mirit I. Aladjem, Elliot M. Epner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Classical MCL (cMCL) constitutes 6-8% of all B cell NHL. Despite recent advances, MCL is incurable except with allogeneic stem cell transplant. Blastic mantle cell lymphoma (bMCL) is a rarer subtype of cMCL associated with an aggressive clinical course and poor treatment response, frequent relapse and poor outcomes. We treated 13 bMCL patients with combined epigenetic and immunotherapy treatment consisting of vorinostat, cladribine and rituximab (SCR). We report an increased OS greater than 40 months with several patients maintaining durable remissions without relapse for longer than 5 years. This is remarkably better then current treatment regimens which in bMCL range from 14.5-24 months with conventional chemotherapy regimens. We demonstrate that the G/A870 CCND1 polymorphism is predictive of blastic disease, nuclear localization of cyclinD1 and response to SCR therapy. The major resistance mechanisms to SCR therapy are loss of CD20 expression and evasion of treatment by sanctuary in the CNS. These data indicate that administration of epigenetic agents improves efficacy of anti-CD20 immunotherapies. This approach is promising in the treatment of MCL and potentially other previously treatment refractory cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-1002
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • blastic mantle cell lymphoma
  • cladribine
  • epigenetics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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