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How does Monjuvi work?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Nov 28, 2022.

Official answer


Monjuvi is a targeted immunotherapy drug and works by helping the immune system find and kill cancer cells in people living with advanced diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL).

Monjuvi targets cancerous B cells, a type of white blood cell found in your body. In DLBCL, B cells grow out of control, and increase in both size and number. Special proteins called CD19 markers are on the surface of the B cell. Monjuvi is able to find and attach to the CD19 marker. When Monjuvi binds to the surface of the cancerous B cell, this allows the immune cells to attack and kill the cancer cells.

Patients who are eligible for Monjuvi therapy have DLBCL that has returned (relapsed) or did not respond to previous treatments (refractory).

Monjuvi treatment is given on a long-term basis to help you achieve and maintain control of your disease.

What does Monjuvi treat?

Monjuvi (tafasitamab-cxix injection) is approved by the FDA to treat diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) in adults. The treatment is used in adults who cannot receive a stem cell transplant, and when other cancer treatments did not work or have stopped working.

It is used in combination with another medicine called lenalidomide. Lenalidomide 25 mg capsule is taken as an oral capsule once a day on day 1 to 21 of each treatment cycle for the first 12 cycles (for about one year). Each treatment cycle of Monjuvi lasts for 28 days.

The FDA approved this use under “accelerated approval” based on the overall response rates of patients in studies. Some patients responded to treatment, but further studies are required to determine the overall benefit of Monjuvi for DLBCL.

Is Monjuvi chemo?

No, Monjuvi is not a traditional chemotherapy drug, but it is used to treat a type of cancer. It is a CD19 monoclonal antibody used in the treatment of patients living with advanced diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). DLBCL is a type of “blood cancer called lymphoma where the B-cells, a type of white blood cell, multiply and grow out of control and become cancerous.

Monjuvi is given as an intravenous (IV) infusion therapy into a vein. You will receive this medicine along with an oral drug called lenalidomide for a maximum of 12 cycles (each cycle is 28 days long), then you will receive Monuvi alone. Lenalidomide is another kind of medicine that also helps the immune system respond to cancer.

You will keep using Monjuvii until your disease worsens or you have side effects that require you to stop treatment. Your healthcare provider will let you know how long you should stay on treatment.

Will I lose my hair with Monjuvi?

Hair loss, also called alopecia, occurred in 2.5% of patients (2.5 out of 100 patients) in clinical studies with Monjuvi, but it was not considered a common side effect.

For most patients who have hair thinning or hair loss during cancer treatments, the hair will grow back if treatment stops. If you are experiencing any side effect that is worrisome or does ot go away, contact your doctor right away.

Where do I receive Monjuvi?

You will usually receive this medicine in an outpatient clinic or infusion center as close to your home as possible. You should be able to stay with your current healthcare providers, who will monitor your treatment.

Your first infusion will take about 1.5 to 2.5 hours. Thereafter, your IV infusions will typically take 1.5 to 2 hours but you may need to be at the clinic for a longer period for premedication and observation.

Your healthcare provider will give you medicines before each infusion to decrease your chance of infusion reactions. You may not need to keep taking these premedications with later infusions.

How much does Monjuvi cost?

Monjuvi is an expensive medicine given as an IV infusion into your vein.

The cost for Monjuvi injection is around $1,331 for a supply of one 200 mg vial. The dose for Monjuvi is based on your weight. The dose is typically 12 mg of Monjuvi per kg of weight. For example, a 70 kg (154 lb.) patient would usually need about 5 vials per treatment, which would cost over $6,600.

The total cost for Monjuvi treatment will depend upon your dose and how much medicine you receive, the facility and infusion-related costs, and other medical charges with your doctor or nurse. In addition, you will have charges related to the cost of lenalidomide, a medicine given with Monjuvi in the first 12 sessions.

Your insurance will be billed for the medicine, and you will receive a bill at a later date, if needed. Talk to your treatment coordinator about billing procedures.

The manufacturers MorphoSys and Incyte may also provide patient financial assistance or copay support to help you pay for your medicine, if you are eligible. You can contact the manufacturer for personalized support from a My MISSION Support Program Specialist at (855) 421-6172, Monday to Friday 8 AM to 8 PM ET.

This is not all the information you need to know about Monjouvi (tafasitamab-cxix) for safe and effective use and does not take the place of your doctor’s directions. Review the full product information and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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