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NEJM Case Reports Show Promise of Cancer Immunotherapy to Treat Rare Lymphoma

A Leap of Faith

Three case reports published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrate the promise of cancer immunotherapy in gray zone lymphoma, a rare subtype that mixes characteristics of Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin forms of the disease. In one case from the University of Colorado Cancer Center using nivolumab and two from the National Institutes of Health using pembrolizumab, treatment with immune therapy “checkpoint inhibitors” followed unsuccessful therapies and was based on clinicians’ ability to match the mechanism of the drug with the known molecular alterations in this lymphoma. These three cases represent the first successful uses of immune therapies in gray zone lymphoma, potentially paving the way for clinical trials utilizing this strategy in this and related conditions.