Last updated on August 2019

DA-EPOCH-R Induction Followed by Nivolumab Consolidation in Newly Diagnosed MYC BCL2 and/or BCL6 Rearranged HGBL

Brief description of study

The prognosis of patients with "high-grade B cell lymphoma with cellular myelocytomatosis (MYC) and B cell lymphoma 2 (BCL2) and/or B cell lymphoma 6 (BCL6) rearrangements" (double hit (DH)/triple hit (TH)-HGBL) with rituximab-CHOP (R-CHOP) is dismal as compared to patients with diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) without MYC, BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements. Currently, there is no other standard first line treatment for these patients. Dose Adjusted

  • Etoposide Prednisone Vincristine Cyclophosphamide Doxorubicin - Rituximab (DA-EPOCH-R) and nivolumab are both feasible treatments. Nivolumab may induce auto-immune reactions. DA-EPOCH-R may induce more hematological toxicity than R-CHOP. The hypothesis is that addition of nivolumab to DA-EPOCH-R will contribute to increased survival.

Detailed Study Description

The dismal prognosis of DH-DLBCL patients following standard therapy with R-CHOP (overall survival at 2 years 35% for MYC+ vs 61% for MYC- patients) justifies upfront new treatment approaches.

Attempts have been made to improve prognosis of DH-DLBCL patients with intensified chemotherapy schemes like DA-EPOCH-R, standard treatment of Burkitt lymphoma with high dose multi-agent chemotherapy (R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC) and autologous stem cell transplantation. These treatment schedules seem to prolong disease-free survival (DFS), but relapses do often occur and improved OS has not been achieved. The investigators hypothesize to increase the number of patients in complete remission with DA-EPOCH-R to 65% as compared to 50% for R-CHOP. DA-EPOCH-R is a well-known scheme for the treatment of patients with Burkitt Lymphoma, and is one of the treatment arms of the Hemato-Oncologie voor Volwassenen Nederland (HOVON) 127 protocol. For DH-DLBCL patients the investigators expect that it will improve the complete remission (CR) rate and prolong DFS as compared to R-CHOP as has been shown in several retrospective studies. It is also clear from these studies that relapses still occur and that OS is not improved by chemotherapy only.

The investigators expect to induce deeper remission with DA-EPOCH-R providing the opportunity for nivolumab to consolidate complete remission, prolong DFS, or to induce conversion of minimal residual disease (MRD) positivity to MRD negativity.

A new approach underlying this proposal is to enhance anti-tumor immune responses. Malignancies with MYC aberrations were long thought to be independent of immune responses. However, recently it was shown that MYC expressing lymphoma and leukaemia mouse and human cell lines upregulate programmed death-ligand 1 (PDL1) ("don't find me" signal) and CD47 ("don't eat me" signal) expression. Inactivation of MYC enhanced tumour immune responses in vivo in mice. Moreover, a subset of DLBCL does express PDL1.

No correlation with MYC rearrangements or protein expression has been described in these studies; however, these data suggest that tumours with MYC overexpression may be especially vulnerable to treatment with immune check point inhibitors, providing the rationale for treatment with nivolumab.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03620578

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