On this page we will discuss a type of therapy that can be used in lymphoma called immunomodulators.
What are immunomodulators?
Immune system modulators are therapies which enhance the body’s immune response against cancer. Some of these agents affect specific parts of the immune system, whereas others affect the immune system in a more general way.
Immunomodulators are believed to work by changing how the immune system works. They can do this in different ways, for example, by:
- Restoring some of the signals between immune system cells and lymphoma cells
- Blocking some of the signals within lymphoma cells.
An example of an immunomodulator is lenalidomide (Revlimid)
Lenalidomide is an immunotherapy medicine that works by activating the body’s immune system to target and kill the lymphoma cells. The medicine helps prevent the lymphoma cells from growing by cutting off their blood supply that they require to exist.
Lenalidomide is structurally related to another drug called thalidomide, that is used to treat other blood cancers.
If lenalidomide is taken during pregnancy, it may cause birth defects or death to an unborn baby. Women should be advised to avoid pregnancy whilst taking Revlimid (lenalidomide), during dose interruptions, and for 4 weeks after stopping the medication.
Indications of use
- Patients with relapsed and/or refractory mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).
- MCL as a second line treatment
How is it administered?
- Lenalidomide is taken as tablets once a day for 21 days, followed by 7 days without treatment in each 28-day cycle.
- You usually have up to 12 cycles of treatment unless your lymphoma stops responding or you are not tolerating the treatment (you have severe side effects).
- Lowered blood counts
- Swelling of the limbs and skin
- Atrial fibrillation