New Combo Therapy for Breast Implant–Associated Lymphoma

Liam Davenport

January 18, 2022

Although the risk of developing lymphoma in association with a breast implant is "considered to be low," the disease is "serious and can lead to death," according to the US Food and Drug Administration.

The immediate treatment is surgical removal of the implant, which is sometimes followed with chemotherapy.

New data show that women who develop breast implant–associated anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL) who require chemotherapy can achieve excellent results with a combination of chemotherapy (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone) and the antibody–drug conjugate brentuximab vedotin.

The findings were published in Blood in November 2021.

The authors, led by Fabien Le Bras, MD, from the Henri Mondor Hospital, Créteil, France, note that despite BIA-ALCL being recently recognized as a provisional entity by the World Health Organization, its pathogenesis has yet to be fully elucidated, and a standard of care has not been established.

Results from the ECHELON 2 trial established brentuximab vedotin plus cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, and prednisone (BV-CHP) as a new standard of care in CD30-positive peripheral T-cell lymphoma.

That trial included 316 patients with ACLC, although none of these cases were associated with breast implants.

The principal investigator on that trial, Steven Horwitz, MD, from Memorial Sloan Kettering Center in New York, told Medscape Medical News that although BIA-ALCL is "incredibly rare," it causes "distress" to patients, as "many of them made a choice for reconstruction...that they thought was safe."

He said that the latest data from France is "interesting" and that the application of the ECHELON-2 findings to BIA-ALCL is "very logical."

"For the people who need systemic therapy," it appears from the current results that BV-CHP "is a very good option," he said.

The "difficulty" in interpreting the data, however, is that "perhaps 80% of people with BIA-ALCL don't need any systemic therapy" and are "cured with surgery alone."

Horwitz said that while patients with infiltrative disease have a "higher risk of recurrence...many of those are still cured with surgery alone."

The main outstanding question he has is how many of the patients who received BV-CHP "might have been okay with observation."

Details of the New Data From France

For their study, Le Bras and colleagues analyzed data from the Lymphoma Study Association registry between 2009 and 2021 and identified 85 patients with BIA-ALCL, including 73 in France and 12 in Belgium.

Most of these patients (whose median age was 57 years) had unilateral lymphoma (94.1%), and only a few patients (5.9%) had bilateral disease.

The team notes that 41.2% of these women had received breast implants once, 41.2% received implants twice, and 17.6% received them three times or more.

In 45.9% of cases, the first implant followed mastectomy for breast cancer.

All patients had at least one textured implant. These have been associated with more cases of BIA-ALCL than smooth implants, and in 2019, Allergan recalled all BioCell textured breast implant products from the United States and around the world, due to the risk for BIA-ALCL, as reported at the time by Medscape Medical News.

For the women in this registry, the median time from the last implant to BIA-ALCL diagnosis was 7 years.

The most common presentation was seroma, which occurred in 75.3% of patients, while 21.2% of had a breast tumor mass with or without seroma.

Stage I–II disease was identified in 76.5% of patients, and 21.2% of cases were stage IV. Infiltrative disease was present in 24.7%.

Implant removal with total capsulectomy was performed in 77.6%; 29.4% of women also received chemotherapy, with 11.8% receiving BV-CHP.

A complete response was achieved in 84% of patients who received chemotherapy, while 8% failed to respond. Among the patients who received BV-CHP, 80% achieved a complete response.

After a median follow-up of 28.6 months, 91.8% patients were alive and progression free. All patients treated with BV-CHP were alive and progression free after a median follow-up of 1 year.

Patients with infiltrative disease had a significantly worse 2-year progression-free survival than those with in situ/mixed disease, at 73.8% vs 96.7%, or a hazard ratio for progression of 5.3 (P = .0039).

They also had worse 2-year overall survival, at 78.7% vs 100%, or a hazard ratio for death of 8.5 (P = .0022).

The authors note that these patients with infiltrative disease had significantly worse survival outcomes and may benefit most from BV-CHP.

No funding for the study was declared. Le Bras reports relationships with Novartis, Celgene, BMS, Takeda, Kite, and Gilead. Other authors declare numerous relevant financial relationships.

Blood. Published online Novcember 9, 2021. Abstract

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