Bortezomib, the first-in-class proteasome inhibitor has demonstrated promising efficacy as a single agent in heavily pretreated patients (pts) with follicular lymphoma (FL). This is the first study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the addition of bortezomib to cyclophosphamide, vincristine, prednisone and rituximab (CVP-R), one of the most commonly used regimens in untreated patients.
This is a phase II multi-centre open-label trial adding bortezomib (1.3 mg/m2 day 1&8) to standard dose cyclophosphamide (750 mg/m2), vincristine (1.4 mg/m2, capped at 2 mg), prednisone (40 mg/m2 × 5) and rituximab (375 mg/m2) for up to 8 cycles in pts with newly diagnosed stage III/IV FL requiring therapy. Response was assessed following 4 and 8 cycles. The two co-primary endpoints were complete response rate (CR/CRu) and incidence of grade 3/4 neurotoxicity. Following the final response assessment, patients were permitted to receive maintenance rituximab at the discretion of the treating physician according to local practice.
Between March 2007 and February 2009, 95 patients were enrolled. Median age was 56.6 years (range 29.5 – 83.6 years). 48% percent were male and 63% had stage IV disease. FLIPI score at study entry: low 11%, intermediate 43%, high 46%. Safety data was availabel on all patients. Overall, the combination of bortezomib and CVP-R was extremely well tolerated. No pts have developed grade 4 neurotoxicity and only 6/95 (6.3%) have developed grade 3 neurotoxicity (five sensory neuropathy and one neuropathic pain). The incidence of grade I and II neuropathy was 65.3% and 36.8% respectively. Neurotoxicity was largely reversible. Five pts discontinued therapy prematurely (three refused further treatment, one pt was found to have Hodgkin lymphoma as well as FL and one pt was removed from study for non-compliance). 84% of planned bortezomib treatments and 85% of vincristine treatments were administered without dose reduction. Five pts experienced grade 3/4 anemia and 3 pts experienced grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia. Only 4 episodes of febrile neutropenia occurred and 2 grade 3 infections were noted. No grade 4 infections were reported. No serious adverse events were reported. One patient died due to progressive disease.
At present, 78/95 patients are evaluable for response. 37/78 (47%) achieved a CR/CRu (95% CI 36.4, 58.5), and 29/78 (37%) achieved a PR with an ORR of 84.6% (95% CI 76.6, 96.6). An additional 5/78 pts had stable disease, while 7/78 progressed on therapy. Complete efficacy data as well as information on quality of life will be availabel within the next few months. Forty-one of 70 pts (58.6%) with availabel follow-up information went on to receive maintenance rituximab.
The addition of bortezomib to standard dose CVP-R is feasible and well tolerated with minimal associated toxicity. Neurotoxicity is primarily low grade and reversible and does not limit delivery of either bortezomib or vincristine. The complete remission rate in this high risk population compares favorably to historical results of patients receiving CVP-R. Based on these encouraging results, a phase III trial of CVP-R with or without bortezomib is currently being planned.
Sehn:Johnson and Johnson Ortho Biotec: Honoraria. Off Label Use: Velcade for is not yet approved for follicular lymphoma. Chen:Johnson and Johnson Ortho Biotec: Research Funding. Djurfeldt:Johnson and Johnson Ortho Biotec: Research Funding. Shepherd:Johnson and Johnson Ortho Biotec: Research Funding. Crump:Johnson and Johnson Ortho Biotec: Honoraria.
Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.