SMC research team publishes world’s first report on Avelumab for treatment of relapsed/ refractory extranodal NK/T-cell lymphoma: An open-label phase 2 study

Professors Seok Jin Kim and Won Seog Kim of the Division of Hematology-oncology of SMC conducted the phase 2 investigator-initiated trial (IIT) of the immune checkpoint inhibitor Avelumab, a PD-L1 inhibitor, in patients with relapsed or refractory extranodal natural killer (NK)/T-cell lymphoma. The results were published in the American Society of Hematology (ASH)’s Blood (2019 impact factor = 17.543), which is the most-cited journal in the field of hematology.


NK/T-cell lymphoma is a highly aggressive lymphoma that recurs in most cases despite intense chemotherapy or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation treatments if the primary treatment fails. No standard rescue chemotherapy for relapsed or refractory NK/T cell lymphoma is available to date.


This study showed that in a specific group of patients with high PD-L1 expression, lymphoma’s pathology could be effectively maintained without relapse for more than two years. Treatment side effects are also very mild, suggesting the possibility of a new treatment for the disease.