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B cell

B cell Malignancies

B cell Malignancies

Oncology - B cell malignancies

In 2020, haematological malignancies were attributed to approximately 294,000 diagnoses and approximately 86,000 deaths in Europe. [1]

Receiving a blood cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and sparks fear. We are striving to change this, so that one day the words “you have cancer” will be less terrifying for patients to hear and less distressing for healthcare professionals to say and act upon.

To do this, we are working tirelessly to develop personalised treatments with reduced side effects that can improve quality of life and prolong the duration of remission.

Our precise focus in B cell malignancies

B cells are a type of white blood cell (lymphocyte) that are part of the immune system and play an important role in fighting infection in the body. Usually, the body makes new lymphocytes only when they are needed to replace old cells that have died. In B cell malignancies, these cells malfunction, and become malignant. This means they grow when the body doesn’t need them and reproduce at an abnormal rate.[2]

At Janssen Oncology, we are precisely focused on the three main types of B cell malignancy:

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL)

CLL is the most common leukaemia in adults. It is generally a slow-growing blood cancer, in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes. CLL patients usually don’t have any symptoms for at least a few years, but over time the cells grow and spread to other parts of the body, including the lymph nodes, liver and spleen.[3][4][5]

The overall incidence of CLL in Europe is approximately 4.92 cases per 100,000 people per year and is about 1.5 times more common in men than in women.[6] CLL is predominantly a disease of the elderly, with a median age of 72 years at diagnosis.[7]

While patient outcomes have dramatically improved in the last few decades, the disease is still characterised by consecutive episodes of disease progression and the need for therapy.[8]

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Mantle Cell Lymphoma (MCL)

MCL is typically an aggressive, rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that develops from abnormal B lymphocytes. It is called ‘mantle cell’ because the abnormal B lymphocytes come from an area called the ‘mantle zone’ in lymph nodes (glands).[9] The abnormal B lymphocytes start to collect in the lymph nodes or body organs. They can then form tumours and begin to cause problems within the lymphatic system or the organ where they are growing.[10]

The average incidence rate in Europe is 0.5 to 1 cases per 100,000 people.[11]

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Waldenström’s Macroglobulinemia (WM)

WM is a rare type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), affecting two types of B cells: lymphoplasmacytoid cells and plasma cells. WM is characterised by having high levels of a circulating antibody, immunoglobulin M (IgM), which is made and secreted by the cells involved in the disease.

Each antibody (protein) made by the WM cells is the same, so it is called a monoclonal protein (M protein). The build-up of this M protein in the body can lead to many of the symptoms of WM, including excess bleeding, problems with vision, and nervous system problems.[12]

Incidence rates in Europe for men and women are 7.3 and 4.2 per million respectively.[13]

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Our approach to research

A better understanding of disease biology and the emergence of newer generation therapies has led to clinical outcomes greatly improving for many patients living with certain types of B cell malignancies over the last decade.[14],[15],[16] Janssen Oncology have contributed to this innovation by delivering first-in-class targeted treatment regimens that provide patients and physicians with non-chemoimmunotherapy options for use in treating CLL, MCL and WM. We are committed to a comprehensive clinical development programme to build on our progress in this area. In the future, our hope is that more patients living with these complex forms of blood cancer will be able to benefit from targeted therapies that are tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

With this in mind, we work towards a future where treatment-free remissions and cure may not be far out of sight.

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Our areas of focus


Oncology Overview

At Janssen Oncology EMEA, we understand that the power to change the lives of those with cancer begins with a very considered step. Forwards.

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Multiple myeloma

Building on almost 20 years of leadership in multiple myeloma, we are committed to transforming care for patients with this rare, currently incurable blood cancer.

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Prostate cancer

Janssen Oncology has over ten years’ experience in research in prostate cancer, the most common cancer among men in the EU. [18]

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Bladder cancer

Despite therapies being available, there is a high unmet need in bladder cancer due to poor outcomes. We are striving to change that.[19][20]

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Lung cancer

We’re concentrating on developing targeted therapies for patients with lung cancer, the leading cause of cancer death for men and women globally. [21]

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[1] AIRC. Online analysis table. Available at: Last accessed February 2022.

[2] WebMD. What is B-Cell Lymphoma: Available at: Last accessed February 2022.

[3] American Cancer Society. What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia? Available at: Last accessed February 2022.

[4] Hallek M. Signaling the end of chronic lymphocytic leukemia: new frontline treatment strategies. Blood. 2013; 122(23): 3723-27234.

[5] Chiorazzi M, et al. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia. N Engl J Med. 2005;352:804-815.

[6] Sant M, et al. Incidence of hematologic malignancies in Europe by morphologic subtype: results of the HAEMACARE project. Blood. 2010; 116:3724–34.

[7] Moreno C. Standard treatment approaches for relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia after frontline chemoimmunotherapy. Hematology Am Soc Hematol Educ Program. 2020;2020:33-40.

[8] Eichhorst B, et al. Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol. 2015 Sep;26 Suppl 5:v78-84.

[9] Lymphoma Action. Mantle cell lymphoma. Available at: Last accessed February 2022.

[10] Cancer Research UK. Mantle cell lymphoma. Available at: Last accessed February 2022.

[11] Smedby KE, Hjalgrim H. Epidemiology and etiology of mantle cell lymphoma and other non-Hodgkin lymphoma subtypes. Semin Cancer Biol. 2011;21:293–8.

[12] American Cancer Society. What is Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia? Available at: Last accessed February 2022.

[13] J Kastritis E, et al. Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia: ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up. Ann Oncol. 2018;29(Suppl 4):iv41–iv50.

[14] Yosifov DY, Wolf C, Stilgenbauer S, Mertens D. From biology to therapy: the CLL success story. Hemasphere. 2019;3:e175.

[15] Schieber M, Gordon LI, Karmali R. Current overview and treatment of mantle cell lymphoma. F1000Res. 2018;7:F1000 Faculty Rev-1136. Published 2018 Jul 25. doi:10.12688/f1000research.14122.1

[16] Pooja Advani, Aneel Paulus, Sikander Ailawadhi, Updates in prognostication and treatment of Waldenström’s macroglobulinemia,Hematology/Oncology and Stem Cell Therapy,Volume 12, Issue 4, 2019, Pages 179-188,ISSN 1658-3876,

[17] American Cancer Society. Multiple myeloma: causes, risk factors, and prevention. Available at: Last accessed December 2021.

[18] HEAL. Men Prostate Cancer. Available at: Last accessed December 2021.

[19] European Cancer Patient Coalition White Paper on Bladder Cancer 2016. Available at: Last accessed December 2021.

[20] Montazeri K. & Bellmunt J. Erdafitinib for the treatment of metastatic bladder cancer. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology. 2020;13(1): 1-6.

[21] Lung cancer – non-small cell: statistics. Available at: Last accessed December 2021.