Lenalidomide Combined With Modified DA-EPOCH and Rituximab (EPOCH-R2) in Primary Effusion Lymphoma or KSHV-associated Large Cell Lymphoma

  • End date
    Oct 1, 2027
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Updated on 4 October 2022
chemotherapy drugs
cancer chemotherapy



Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is a rare disease with no standard treatment. Researchers want to see if a drug called lenalidomide along with common chemotherapy drugs may be effective in treating PEL.


To test a new treatment for PEL.


People ages 18 and older with PEL.


Participants will be screened with blood tests, imaging studies, a physical exam, and other tests.

Participants will have tests to evaluate their disease. These may include:

Blood tests


Lumbar puncture. Fluid around the spinal cord will be removed with a needle.

Bone marrow removed with a needle and studied

Samples of skin or lymph nodes removed

Fluid removed from around organs

Lung and eye tests

Tubes with cameras taking pictures of airways or digestive tract

Participants will take lenalidomide pills for 10 days. They will keep a pill diary.

Participants will have a catheter (small tube) placed in the large vein in the arm or chest.

Participants will get DA-EPOCH-R as intravenous infusions by catheter over several days. This will be repeated in 21-day cycles. Most participants will have 6 cycles.

Participants will get the drug filgrastim by injection under the skin. They will get the drug methotrexate injected into the spinal fluid.

During the study, participants will have the following tests done at least once:

Medical history

Physical exam

Blood, urine, and stool tests

Lesions photographed and measured

Lumbar puncture

Participants will have follow-up visits for 5 years. They will repeat the screening tests plus have urine and stool tested.

Participants may be contacted later by phone to see how they are doing.



  • Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV)-associated primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) is an aggressive B cell neoplasm with clinicopathologic and molecular profiles distinct from other AIDS-related lymphomas.
  • There are no prospective studies on these rare lymphomas. Clinical experience is limited; however, reported prognosis is poor, with median survival estimated at less than 6 months using conventional CHOP-like chemotherapy.
  • Novel treatment is urgently needed for KSHV-associated lymphomas, and the therapeutic approach must take into account concurrent KSHV-associated malignancies which are commonly seen in this patient population
  • Lenalidomide, an immune-modulatory derivative of thalidomide (IMiD drug) has in vitro direct antitumor effect in KSHV-lymphomas as well as immune modulatory and antiangiogenic effects that may be beneficial in treating PEL
  • Rituximab, an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody, has recently been shown to be an active agent in the management of KSHV-MCD. Although PEL is a CD20-negative tumor, advances in the understanding the biology of KSHV-infection of B-cells, the pathobiology of IL-6 syndromes in KSHV-MCD and KSHV-NHL, and clinical experience using rituximab in the treatment of KSHV-MCD, support use of rituximab in the treatment of PEL, especially in patients with concurrent KSHV-MCD.
  • Modified dose-adjusted etoposide, prednisone, vincristine, cyclophosphamide, and doxorubicin (DA)-EPOCH is an anthracycline-based regimen that allows for personalization of dose-intensity showing that inclusion of etoposide and infusional administration decreases tumor cell resistance.
  • The use of DA-EPOCH in combination with rituximab for the treatment of HIV associated diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or Burkitt lymphoma has been shown to be safe and effective.
  • Given the central role of controlling HIV viremia with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) in the management of KSHV-associated malignancies, as well as the likely contribution of uncontrolled HIV viremia to PEL pathogenesis, cART will be employed as an important part of the treatment regimen.


Phase I

  • Evaluate safety and tolerability of lenalidomide in combination with DA-EPOCH-R and determine the maximum tolerated dose and/or recommended phase II dose of this regimen.

Phase II

  • Evaluate overall survival in treatment-naive patients with primary effusion lymphoma treated with lenalidomide in combination with, DA-EPOCH and rituximab (DA-EPOCHR^2).


  • Adult patients greater than or equal to 18 years with pathology confirmed primary effusion lymphoma, including extracavitary variants, and KSHV-associated large cell lymphoma
  • Lymphoma that is measurable or assessable
  • Any HIV status
  • Hematologic and biochemical parameters within pre-specified limits at screening
  • Willing to use effective birth control, as defined in the full protocol
  • Neither pregnant nor breast feeding
  • Excluded if other serious co-morbid condition that would prohibit administration of planned chemotherapeutic intervention is present


  • This is a phase I/ II study of lenalidomide in combination rituximab and modified DAEPOCH (EPOCH-R^2) in patients with PEL and KSHV-associated large cell lymphoma
  • Phase I of the study will evaluate lenalidomide 25 mg days 1-10 in combination with modified DA-EPOCH-R to determine safety and tolerability. Dose de-escalation doses of lenalidomide are 20 mg and 15 mg.
  • Patients with HIV will generally be prescribed cART.
  • In phase I, with up to 3 dose levels, 6-18 patients will be accrued (3-6 patients per level).
  • In the phase II portion of the study, 15 evaluable patients will be enrolled over 48-60 months and 12 months follow-up after the last patient has enrolled, a 1-tailed 0.10 alpha level test would have 80% power to determine if OS curve would demonstrate a 1-year OS consistent with 45% or better and ruling out 20% or worse.

Condition Primary Effusion Lymphoma, B-Cell Neoplasm
Treatment Rituximab, cyclophosphamide, prednisone, vincristine, doxorubicin, Lenalidomide, Etopside, Cyclophosphamide on day 10 (for 6 cycles), each patient will get a 750 mg/m2 dose.
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT02911142
SponsorNational Cancer Institute (NCI)
Last Modified on4 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Primary effusion lymphoma (PEL), including extracavitary variant, and KSHVassociated large cell lymphoma that is pathologically confirmed by the NCI Laboratory of Pathology
Measurable or assessable lymphoma
Any HIV status
Age 18 years or greater. Because no dosing or adverse event data are currently available on the use of lenalidomide in combination with EPOCH-R in patients <18 years of age, children are excluded from this study, but may be eligible for future pediatric trials
ECOG performance status 0-4
Females of childbearing potential (FCBP) must have a negative serum or urine pregnancy test with a sensitivity of at least 25 mIU/mL within 14 days prior to and again within 1 day before starting lenalidomide and must either commit to continued abstinence from heterosexual intercourse or begin TWO acceptable methods of birth control, one highly effective method and one additional effective method AT THE SAME TIME, at least 28 days before she starts taking lenalidomide. Females of reproductive potential must adhere to the scheduled pregnancy testing as required in the Revlimid REMS program. Men must agree to use a latex condom during sexual contact with a FCBP even if they have had a vasectomy. All subjects must be counseled at a minimum of every 28 days about pregnancy precautions and risks of fetal exposure. Risks of Fetal Exposure, Pregnancy Testing Guidelines and Acceptable Birth Control
All study participants must agree to be registered into the mandatory REVLIMID REMS program, and be willing and able to comply with the requirements of the REVLIMID REMS program
Able to take aspirin 81mg orally daily or if intolerant of aspirin, able to take a substitute thromboprophylaxis such as low molecular weight heparin
Ability of subject to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document

Exclusion Criteria

Use of other systemic anticancer treatments or agents within the past 2 weeks
Phase I or Phase II patients who have prior dose-adjusted EPOCH for treatment for PEL or KSHV-associated large cell lymphoma
Phase II patients who have received any prior curative-intent therapy for PEL or KSHV-associated large cell lymphoma. Patients who have received prior treatment as a bridge to curative-intent therapy will be considered per PI discretion
Parenchymal brain involvement with lymphoma
History of malignant tumors other than KS or KSHV-associated MCD, unless
In complete remission for greater than or equal to 1 year from the time response was first documented or
Completely resected basal cell carcinoma or
In situ squamous cell carcinoma of the cervix or anus
Inadequate renal function, defined as calculated or estimated creatinine clearance <
Inadequate hepatic function
mL/min unless lymphoma, KSHV-MCD, or KICS- related for calculation of
Bilirubin (total) > 1.5 times the upper limit of normal; AST and/or ALT > 3 times the upper limit of normal; EXCEPTIONS
creatinine clearance)
Total bilirubin greater than or equal to 5 mg/dL in patients with Gilbert's syndrome as defined by >80% unconjugated
Total bilirubin greater than or equal to 7.5 with direct fraction > 0.7 if patient is receiving a protease inhibitor at the time of initial evaluation
Hepatic dysfunction attributed to lymphoma, KSHV-MCD, or KICS
ANC <1000/mm3 and platelets < 75,000/mm3 unless lymphoma, KSHV-MCD, or KICS- related
CTCAEv5.0 Grade 3-4 neuropathy
Ejection fraction less than 40% by echocardiography
Known drug-related, inherited, or acquired procoagulant disorder including prothrombin gene mutation 20210, antithrombin III deficiency, protein C deficiency, protein S deficiency and antiphospholipid syndrome but not including heterozygosity for the Factor V Leiden mutation or the presence of a lupus anticoagulant in the absence of other criteria for the antiphospholipid syndrome
History of hypersensitivity reactions attributed to thalidomide, lenalidomide, or pomalidomide, including prior development of erythema nodosum if characterized by a desquamating rash while taking thalidomide, lenalidomide, or pomalidomide
Breast feeding (if lactating, must agree not to breast feed while taking lenalidomide). Because there is an unknown but potential risk for adverse events in nursing infants secondary to treatment of the mother with lenalidomide, breastfeeding should be discontinued if the mother is treated with lenalidomide
Uncontrolled severe intercurrent illness including, but not limited to: bacterial, fungal, or life-threatening viral infection; symptomatic congestive heart failure; unstable angina pectoris; cardiac arrhythmia; or psychiatric illness/social situations that would limit compliance with study requirements. Patients with severe intercurrent illnesses attributed to lymphoma, KSHV-MCD, or KICS may be eligible per PI s or designee s discretion
Any condition, including laboratory abnormalities, which in the opinion of the Principal Investigator or Lead Associate Investigator, would prohibit administration of planned chemotherapeutic intervention, places the subject at unacceptable risk if they were to participate in the study or confounds the ability to interpret data from the study
Pregnant women are excluded from this study because lenalidomide is a Category X agent with the potential for teratogenic or abortifacient effects. These potential risks may also apply to other agents used in this study
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