Abstract 1658

Poster Board I-684


NHL patients with refractory disease or relapsing after autologous or allogeneic stem cell transplant (SCT) have very poor prognosis with currently available salvage chemotherapy. Sorafenib (Nexavar, BAY43-9006, Bayer) is an oral multikinase inhibitor approved by FDA for the treatment of renal cell carcinoma and hepatocellular carcinoma. Sorafenib exerts a broad range of antiproliferative, antiangiogenic, and proapoptotic effects against a variety of nonhematological tumors through the inhibition of the RAF/MEK/ERK pathway, the receptor tyrosine kinases c-kit, Flt3, RET, as well as the proangiogenic vascular endothelial growth factor receptors (VEGFRs), and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFR-β). Several lines of evidence suggest that Sorafenib might have a significant clinical impact in the treatment of malignant lymphomas by overcoming the cytoprotective effects of Bcl-XL, ERK, and Mcl-1 and eventually targeting additional signalling pathways relevant to lymphomagenesis. Our preclinical data demonstrating a marked cytotoxic activity of Sorafenib against NHL cell lines in vitro and in vivo in xenograft models, established the rationale for this currently ongoing phase II study aimed to determine safety and activity of Sorafenib in relapsed/refractory NHL.


Between March 2008 and May 2009, 21 patients (16 males and 5 females; median age, 65 years; range, 29-74 years) with relapsed/refractory diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL, n = 11), follicular lymphoma (FL, n =4), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL, n =2), lymphoplasmacitoid lymphoma (LPL, n =1), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL, n =2), and peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL, n =1) who have failed second- or subsequent-line salvage chemo-radiotherapy were enrolled in this phase II trial. Prior to study entry, patients received a median of 4 (range 2 - 7) lines of treatment, including autologous SCT in 15 (71%) and an additional allogeneic SCT in 5 (24%) cases. At study entry, 7 (33%) patients had relapsed and 14 (67%) refractory disease. Eligibility criteria included absence of any available treatment options of proven efficacy, at least one target lesion ≥2 cm, ECOG performance status of 0-1, and adequate bone marrow, liver and renal functions. Sorafenib (400 mg BID, per os) was administered continuously until disease progression or appearance of clinical significant toxicity probably related to study drug. Tumor responses were assessed according to the revised response criteria for malignant lymphoma of the International Working Group. NCI CTCAE v3.0 was used for toxicity assessment.


To date, 21 patients received a median of 3 months (range, 1 – 11) of Sorafenib therapy. All patients are evaluable for toxicity and response, and 1 patient is still on therapy. Overall, therapy was well tolerated without significant adverse events. The most common drug-related non-hematological toxicities were grade 1-2 mucositis (14%), diarrhea (24%), hand-foot syndrome (24%), anorexia (29%), and fatigue (29%). Grade 3-4 hand-foot syndrome occurred in 19% of patients. Hematological toxicities included grade 1-2 neutropenia (10%) and thrombocytopenia (24%). Grade 3-4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia were observed in 14%, and 24% of patients, respectively. Best response to Sorafenib included 1 (5%) complete remission (CR) occurring in the patient with LPL, and 1 (5%) partial remission (PR) in a patient with cutaneous DLBCL, for an overall response rate (ORR) of 10%. In both patients, response duration was 6 months. In addition, 9 (42%) patients achieved stable disease (SD) for a median of 3 months (range, 2 – 10), with 3 (14%) patients achieving SD for ≥6 months, while 10 (48%) patients progressed. Upon Sorafenib treatment, an extensive necrosis involving the central area of the tumor associated with a nearly complete disappearance of tumor vascularization was documented by computed tomography and contrast-enhanced ultrasound in two DLBCL and one FL patients bearing latero-cervical or abdominal lymphoid masses.


Sorafenib as a single agent was well tolerated. Despite limited clinical activity (10% ORR), disease stabilization was experienced by 42% of patients. The potent antiangiogenic activity of Sorafenib in NHL patients bearing highly vascularized lymphoid masses suggests that further research should focus on combinations of Sorafenib with molecularly targeted agents eventually exerting antivascular activities.


Off Label Use: The multikinase inhibitor Sorafenib has been used in a phase II trial in patients with relapsed/refractory NHL.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.