Background: Present first-line therapy for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, is rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP). Ibrutinib, a novel oral Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has shown single-drug activity in relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies. We investigated the safety and efficacy of ibrutinib in combination with R-CHOP for patients with previously untreated CD20-positive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Methods: In this phase 1b, open-label, non-randomised study, patients were recruited across six centres in the USA and France. Eligibility was age 18 years or older and treatment-naive histopathologically confirmed CD20-positive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In the dose-escalation phase (part 1), patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, mantle-cell lymphoma, or follicular lymphoma were enrolled. The primary objective was to determine a recommended phase 2 dose of ibrutinib with a standard R-CHOP regimen, by assessing safety in all patients who received treatment. Patients received ibrutinib 280 mg, 420 mg, or 560 mg per day in combination with a standard R-CHOP regimen every 21 days. Safety of the recommended phase 2 dose was then assessed in a dose-expansion population, which consisted of patients with newly diagnosed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (part 2). Secondary objectives included assessments of the proportion of patients who had an overall response, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01569750.
Findings: From June 22, 2012, to March 25, 2013, 33 patients were enrolled (part 1: 17; part 2: 16) and 32 received ibrutinib plus R-CHOP treatment (one patient in the part 2 cohort withdrew). The maximum tolerated dose was not reached and the recommended phase 2 dose for ibrutinib was 560 mg per day. The most common grade 3 or greater adverse events included neutropenia (73% [24 of 33 patients]), thrombocytopenia (21% [seven patients]), and febrile neutropenia and anaemia (18% each [six patients]). The most frequently reported serious adverse events were febrile neutropenia (18% [six patients]) and hypotension (6% [two patients]). 30 (94%) of 32 patients who received one or more doses of combination treatment achieved an overall response. All 18 patients with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma who received the recommended phase 2 dose had an overall response. For those subtyped and treated at the recommended phase 2 dose, five (71%) of seven patients with the germinal centre B-cell-like subtype and two (100%) patients with the non-germinal centre B-cell-like subtype had a complete response. R-CHOP did not affect pharmacokinetics of ibrutinib, and ibrutinib did not alter the pharmacokinetics of vincristine. Pharmacodynamic data showed Bruton's tyrosine kinase was fully occupied (>90% occupancy) at the recommended phase 2 dose.
Interpretation: Ibrutinib is well tolerated when added to R-CHOP, and could improve responses in patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but our findings need confirmation in a phase 3 trial.
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