Immunotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Learn more about:
Types of immunotherapy
There are several types of immunotherapy, and each works differently.
Pembrolizumab is a type of immunotherapy drug known as checkpoint inhibitor. It is available on the PBS for some types of relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma. It is given as an intravenous infusion every three weeks.
CAR T-cell therapy
A new type of immunotherapy used to treat relapsed and refractory lymphoma is chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy. This boosts the ability of T-cells to fight cancer. T-cells are removed from the blood and altered so they can better recognise cancer cells. The altered T-cells are then returned to the blood through an intravenous drip (infusion). You will be in hopsital for several weeks, and recovery will take time. At this stage, CAR T-cell therapy is available only in some hospitals in Australia.
Other immunotherapy drugs for non-Hodgkin lymphoma may be available through clinical trials. Ask your doctor about the latest developments in immunotherapy for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Side effects of immunotherapy
Immunotherapy can cause inflammation in any organ of the body, leading to side effects such as fatigue, fever, skin rash and diarrhoea. The inflammation can lead to more serious side effects in some people, but this will be monitored closely and managed quickly.
For more on this, see our general section on Immunotherapy.
Video: What is immunotherapy?
Watch this short video to learn more about targeted and immunotherapy.
Podcast: Immunotherapy & Targeted Therapy
A/Prof Christina Brown, Haematologist, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Khaled Aly, Consumer; Kevin Bloom, Senior Social Worker, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Royal North Shore Hospital; Katrina Debosz, CAR-T and Lymphoma Nurse Practitioner, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital; Dr Samuel Dickson, Radiation Oncologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Dr Wojt Janowski, Haematologist, Calvary Mater Newcastle; Yvonne King, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council NSW; Karen Maddock, Blood Transplant and Cell Therapy Nurse Practitioner, Westmead Hospital; Sheridan Wellings, Consumer.
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