Acalabrutinib With DA-EPOCH-R or R-CHOP for People With Untreated Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma

  • End date
    Mar 31, 2028
  • participants needed
  • sponsor
    National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Updated on 12 September 2021
platelet count
hodgkin's disease
granulocyte colony stimulating factor
gilbert's syndrome
colony stimulating factor
combination chemotherapy
neutrophil count
diffuse large b-cell lymphoma
b-cell lymphoma
large b-cell lymphoma
high grade b-cell lymphoma
chop regimen
r-chop regimen



Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma is the most common type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Most people with this cancer can be cured. But those who are not cured have a poor prognosis. Researchers want to add another drug to standard treatment see if it can improve the cure rate.


To see if the drug acalabrutinib given with rituximab and standard combination chemotherapy can improve the cure rate of aggressive B-cell lymphomas such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.


People ages 18 and older with an aggressive B-cell lymphomas that have not been treated


Participants will be screened with:

Blood and urine tests

Physical exam

Medical history

Tumor biopsy

Bone marrow biopsy: A needle will remove marrow from the participant s hipbone.

Lumbar puncture: If necessary, a needle will remove fluid from the participant s spinal canal.

Imaging scans

Participants will take the study drug for up to 14 days. It is a pill taken 2 times a day. Then they will have more scans. They will get rituximab and chemotherapy. They may get these drugs through a needle in an arm vein. Or they may them through a tube placed in a vein in their chest or in their neck. They might also keep taking the study drug. Each treatment cycle lasts 21 days. They will have up to 6 cycles.

Participants may have 4 doses of another drug injected into their spinal fluid.

Participants will have repeats of the screening tests throughout the study.

Participants will have a follow-up visit 30 days after their last treatment, then every 3 months for 2 years, then every 6 months for 3 years, and then yearly.



  • Gene-expression profiling (GEP) has identified two dominant molecular subtypes,activated B cell like (ABC) and germinal center B cell like (GCB), that arise by distinct mechanisms, have distinct prognoses, and respond differently to targeted therapy
  • Recently, genetic subtypes of DLBCL have been described within molecular subtypes that have distinct genotypic, epigenetic, and clinical characteristics providing biologic rationale for precision medicine strategies in DLBCL
  • Frontline treatment of DLBCL is either rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone (R-CHOP), or infusional rituximab, cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, etoposide, vincristine, and prednisone (DA-EPOCH-R) but up to 40% of patients are not cured with frontline treatment
  • Bruton s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is a key component of the B-cell receptor (BCR)-signaling cascade and selective BTK inhibitors have clinical activity preferentially in ABC-DLBCL
  • Acalabrutinib is a selective, small molecule, second-generation BTK inhibitor approved for relapsed mantle cell lymphoma and demonstrated activity in DLBCL
  • The molecular characterization of tumors that respond to DLBCL BTK inhibitors is incomplete; although responses occur more commonly in ABC-DLBCL, cases of GCBDLBCL show minor responses, and no information is available within genetic subtypes of DLBCL
  • Patients with minor responses during 2-week window of treatment with acalabrutinib (100mg BID) as a single agent may benefit from acalabrutinib added to standard combination therapy as part of frontline therapy

-To determine the response rate, including minor response (MR), to acalabrutinib administered for 14 days in molecular and genetic subtypes of untreated DLBLC (ABC, GCB, unclassified, genetic subtypes)

  • Histologically confirmed DLBCL or high-grade B-cell lymphoma
  • Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBL) and CNS involvement excluded
  • Stages II-IV
  • HIV negative or positive
  • Available FFPE or fresh frozen biopsy
  • Adequate organ function
  • Age >=18 years
  • Open-label, single center, non-randomized phase 2 study, with enrollment of 100 untreated DLBCL patients. It is estimated that there may be 50% who are ABC (~50 patients), and 50% who are GCB or unclassified (~50 patients). The accrual ceiling will be set at 132 to allow for inevaluable patients and to account for screen fails.
  • The study will start with an initial 2-week window of treatment with acalabrutinib (100mg BID) as a single agent, with collection and assessment of molecular correlates as well as response rates (by imaging) by molecular subtype
  • Treatment with chemoimmunotherapy (R-CHOP or DA-EPOCH-R) either alone or in combination with acalabrutinib will depend on response during window; those with less than 25% reduction during window will receive chemoimmunotherapy alone, while those with at least a 25% reduction in tumor lesions (sum of the products of the longest diameter) will receive combination therapy of chemoimmunotherapy with acalabrutinib (100mg BID on days 1-10 of each cycle); those with clinical progression during window will move immediately to chemoimmunotherapy
  • Secondary objectives include integrative genomic analysis of all untreated DLBCL that respond or are resistant to acalabrutinib for 14 days, event-free survival (EFS), progression free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) of combination therapy of acalabrutinib and chemoimmunotherapy will be assessed

Condition Follicular Lymphoma, Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, Lymphoma, Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, non-hodgkin's lymphoma (nhl), diffuse large cell lymphoma, diffuse large b cell lymphoma
Treatment Rituximab, CHOP, acalabrutinib, DA-EPOCH
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04002947
SponsorNational Cancer Institute (NCI)
Last Modified on12 September 2021


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patients must have a confirmed histologic diagnosis of an aggressive B-cell lymphoma with morphologic appearance of DLBCL or high-grade B-cell lymphoma (HGBL) confirmed by the Laboratory of Pathology, NCI, with no prior treatment for DLBCL or HGBL. The following subtypes are included
DLBCL, NOS, Activated B-cell type (ABC)
DLBCL, NOS, Germinal center B-cell type (GCB)
T-cell/histiocyte-rich large B-cell lymphoma
Primary cutaneous DLBCL, leg-type
DLBCL associated with chronic inflammation
ALK+ large B-cell lymphoma
High-grade B-cell lymphoma, NOS
High-grade B-cell lymphoma, with MYC and BCL2 and/or BCL6 rearrangements
A formalin-fixed tissue block or 15 slide of tumor sample (archival or fresh) must be available for performance of correlative studies
NOTE: Tumor tissue may be from any previously collected tissue and adequacy is
at the discretion of the Principal Investigator. Patients must be willing to
have a tumor biopsy if adequate archival tissue is not available (i.e., post-
enrollment and prior to treatment)
\. Measurable lymph nodes or masses of at least 1.5 centimeters (cm) on
baseline CT or MRI
\. Stage II, III, or IV disease as classified by the Ann Arbor Classification
\. Age greater than or equal to 18 years
NOTE: Because no dosing or adverse event data are currently available on the
use of acalabrutinib in patients <18 years of age, children are excluded
\. ECOG performance status less than or equal to 2
\. Adequate organ and marrow function as defined below unless dysfunction is
felt to be secondary to lymphoma involvement as determined by the treating
absolute neutrophil count >=1,000/mcL
hemoglobin >= 8 g/dL (transfusions permitted to meet criteria)
Platelets >= 75,000/mcL (transfusions not permitted)
total bilirubin <= 1.5 X institutional ULN (or <= 3 X institutional ULN for patients with documented Gilberts syndrome or cholestatic obstruction or involvement by lymphoma)
AST(SGOT)/ALT(SGPT) <= 3 X institutional ULN (>= 5 x ULN for patients with cholestatic obstruction or involvement by lymphoma
Serum creatinine <= 2.0 mg/dL
Creatinine clearance >=40 mL/min/1.73 m2 for patients with creatinine levels above 2 mg/dL
RBC transfusions and use of G-CSF will be allowed in order to meet eligibility parameters
NOTE: In patients without bone marrow involvement, transfusions of RBCs are
permitted to achieve the criterion hemoglobin of 8g/dl, but transfusions of
platelets are not permitted to achieve the criterion platelet count of
>75,000/mcL. In patients with bone marrow involvement, all transfusions are
permissible at the discretion of the investigator
\. Effects of acalabrutinib on the developing human fetus are unknown. For
these reasons the following measures apply
Women of childbearing potential must have a negative serum or urine pregnancy test within 7 days prior to enrollment
Women of childbearing potential (WOCBP) who are sexually active must agree to highly-effective contraception (e.g., hormonal or barrier method of birth control; abstinence) prior to study entry, for the duration of study participation, and for at least 2 days after the last dose of acalabrutinib or 12 months after the last dose of combined chemotherapy, whichever is later. Male subjects must use highly effective contraception prior to study entry, for the duration of study participation, and for 12 months after the last dose of combined chemotherapy; there is no contraception timing requirement post-last dose of acalabrutinib alone if male subject does not initiate chemotherapy on study after the acalabrutinib window
Participants must not be planning to conceive or father children within the projected duration of the trial, starting with the pre-screening/screening visit through 2 days after the last dose of acalabrutinib or 12 months after the last dose of combined chemotherapy, whichever is later
Should a woman become pregnant or suspect she is pregnant while she or her partner is participating in this study, she should inform her treating physician immediately
WOCBP is defined as any female who has experienced menarche and who has not undergone successful surgical sterilization or who is not postmenopausal (i.e., amenorrheic for >12 months without alternative medical cause; post-menopausal status in females under 55 years of age should be confirmed with a serum folliclestimulating hormone [FSH] level within applicable local laboratory reference range for postmenopausal women). 9. Ability of patient to understand and the willingness to sign a written informed consent document. 10. Any HIV status will be included in this study; status must be confirmed prior to enrollment

Exclusion Criteria

Patients who meet histologic criteria for the following subtypes are excluded
Primary DLBCL of the central nervous system (PCNSL)
Primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma (PMBL)
Plasmablastic lymphoma
Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma
B-cell lymphoma, unclassifiable, with features intermediate between DLBCL and classical Hodgkin lymphoma
Patients who, at the discretion of the investigator, need immediate cytoreductive chemotherapy such as patients with evidence of spontaneous tumor lysis or impending organ compromise are not eligible
Current or prior anti-cancer treatment for DLBCL prior to enrollment. Short course of corticosteroids (<7 days) for acute issues prior to study enrollment are permitted
Major surgical procedure within 28 days of first dose of study drug. If a subject had major surgery, they must have recovered adequately from any toxicity and/or complications from the intervention before the first dose of study drug
Requires treatment with proton-pump inhibitors (e.g., omeprazole, esomeprazole, lansoprazole, dexlansoprazole, rabeprazole or pantoprazole). Subjects receiving proton-pump inhibitors who switch to H2-receptor antagonists or antacids are eligible for enrollment to this study
Requires treatment with moderate or strong CYP3A inhibitors or inducers
Presence of concomitant indolent lymphomas such as follicular lymphoma, marginal zone lymphomas, or chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma that are best categorized as composite or transformed lymphomas are excluded
NOTE: Patients with evidence of small monoclonal B-cell clones isolated to the
bone marrow or peripheral blood that meet criteria for monoclonal B-cell
lymphocytosis are not excluded
\. Known lymphomatous involvement of the CNS
\. Pregnant women, or women who intend to become pregnant during the study
are excluded from this study because of potential teratogenic effects
associated with acalabrutinib, R-CHOP, and/or DA-EPOCH-R
\. The potential for all study treatments to be excreted in breast milk of
nursing mothers is unknown. Because there is an unknown but potential risk for
adverse events in nursing infants secondary to treatment of the mother with
acalabrutinib, breastfeeding must be discontinued
\. Uncontrolled intercurrent illness including, but not limited to the
following that may limit interpretation of results or that could increase risk
to the patient at the discretion of the investigator
Uncontrolled active systemic infection
Any condition that requires anticoagulation with warfarin or equivalent vitamin K antagonist
Active bleeding, history of bleeding diathesis (e.g., hemophilia or von Willebrand disease)
Suspected or confirmed Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy (PML)
Active hepatitis C infection. NOTE: Subjects who are hepatitis C antibody positive will need to have a negative HCV PCR result before enrollment. Those with a positive PCR for hepatitis C are excluded
Active hepatitis B infection. NOTE: Patients who are hepatitis B surface antigen (HbcsAg) or hepatitis B core antibody (HbcAb) positive will need to have a negative HBV PCR result before enrollment. Those with a positive PCR for hepatitis B are excluded. Those who are hepatitis B surface antigen (HbcsAg) or hepatitis B core antibody (HbcAb) positive with a negative PCR for hepatitis B will be treated with antivirals designed to prevent hepatitis B reactivation (e.g., entecavir) throughout therapy and for 12 months after therapy and have monitoring for hepatitis B reactivation with PCR
Diagnosed or treated for malignancy other than DLBCL, except
Malignancy treated with curative surgical resection and no evidence of active disease for 2 years prior to enrollment
Adequately treated non-melanoma skin cancer without evidence of disease
Adequately treated carcinoma in situ without evidence of disease
History of hemorrhagic stroke or intracranial hemorrhage in preceding 6 months
Clinically significant cardiovascular disease such as uncontrolled or symptomatic arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, or myocardial infarction within 6 months of screening, or any Class 3 (moderate) or Class 4 (severe) cardiac disease as defined by the New York Heart Association Functional Classification. Subjects with controlled atrial fibrillation/flutter during screening are eligible
Uncontrolled autoimmune hemolytic anemia
Inability to swallow oral medications, or disease involve that significantly limits absorption of oral medication
Known mental or physical illness that would interfere with cooperation with the requirements of the trial or confound the results or interpretation of the results of the trial and, in the opinion of the treating investigator, would make the patient inappropriate for entry into the study
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