Accessibility Statement

MCL Treatments Have Come a Long Way — But Patients Who Relapse Still Need More Options

September 13, 2023    Posted by: Eli Lilly and Company


Nearly one out of 200,000 people are diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), a rare blood cancer and form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, per year.1 As a result of research and development over the past several decades, patients now have several treatment options available for use at different lines of therapy. But for some, remission can turn to relapse — representing a population of patients with significant unmet needs. 

“Many people living with MCL will require several lines of treatment in their life, and disease relapse is almost universal,” said Dr. John Pagel, vice president and head of global hematology at Loxo@Lilly. “When patients do relapse, the disease can be much more aggressive and treatment options much more limited.” 

In recent years, different approaches to treating MCL have emerged, such as immunomodulatory therapies, targeted therapies such as Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitors, and cellular therapies.1-3 But relapses are frequent, with the median overall survival for MCL patients being between four and five years from diagnosis.4

“Unfortunately, MCL is incurable,” Pagel said. “There are limited standard treatments for patients whose MCL returns after initial therapies. There continues to be a need for additional options for patients who relapse on their prior treatment.” 

Patients diagnosed with MCL can relapse for a variety of reasons, one being disease resistance to standard frontline or subsequent therapies. Mechanisms of resistance can vary by malignancy and are still being characterized, and there is a growing unmet need for patients whose MCL has progressed. 

We’re focused on ensuring continued progress for people with MCL who have limited treatment options. Through raising awareness of unmet needs in B-cell malignancies and exploring therapies that can address them, we strive to bring forward new innovations. We aim to answer important scientific questions that will help improve the treatment landscape for people living with blood cancers.  

1 National Organization for Rare Disorders. Mantle cell lymphoma. Accessed 31 October 2022.  

2 National Cancer Institute. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia treatment (PDQ®)–patient version. Accessed 31 October 2022.  

3 Roué G, Sola B. Cancers. 2020;12(6):1565. Accessed 3 November 2022.  

4 Vose JM. Am J Hematol. 2017;92(8):806-813.