Introduction: Blinatumomab is a bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE) molecule that recruits cytotoxic T cells to target tumor B cells by linking the CD3 and CD19 antigens. Among the various formats of bispecific antibodies developed in the past 50 years, the BiTE class is remarkable for its low effector-to-target ratio, high tissue penetration and singular ability to activate T cells independent of MHC class I presentation or costimulation. Blinatumomab has been studied in patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) and B-precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL).Areas covered: This article reviews the current literature on blinatumomab including its pharmacology, preclinical findings, clinical trials in B-cell NHL and, to a lesser extent, Phase II studies in B-ALL. The authors discuss the potential future directions in light of other new competing therapies for NHL and unmet clinical needs in the market.Expert opinion: The recent approval of blinatumomab for B-ALL symbolizes a breakthrough for BiTE technology with prospective application in the targeted therapy of other cancers. Although blinatumomab seems an unlikely option for treating indolent lymphoma due to toxicity, the need for long-term continuous infusion therapy and multiple promising well-tolerated oral agents, it holds promise for aggressive NHL patients whose diseases are refractory to current standard approaches. Larger trials are needed to demonstrate blinatumomab's curative potential in aggressive histologies.
- B-cell lymphoma
- Bispecific T-cell engager molecule
- Cytotoxic T cells