Background: Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a distinct subtype of lymphoma with a wide variation of clinical course. Based on randomized trials of our network, current standard of care is a cytarabine-containing immunochemotherapy induction (Hermine, Lancet 2016) followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (SCT; Zöllner, ICML 2019) and rituximab maintenance for 3 years (Le Gouill, NEJM 2018). In relapsed MCL the BTK inhibitor ibrutinib achieves high response rates and ongoing remissions (Wang, NEJM 2013; Dreyling, Lancet 2016). This approach achieved especially longer remission durations in earlier treatment lines (Rule, Hamatologica 2019). We aim to clarify whether ibrutinib added to induction and as maintenance with or without autologous stem cell transplantation might improve outcome.

Study design and methods: In this international, randomized three-arm phase III trial (EudraCT-no. 2014-001363-12) young, fit patients ( up to 65 years) with histologically confirmed, untreated mantle cell lymphoma advanced stage II-IV qualify for 1:1:1 randomization after written informed consent according to ICH/EU GCP. In the control arm A, patients receive an alternating R-CHOP/R-DHAP induction followed by myeloablative consolidation (either BEAM or THAM: TBI, high dose Ara-C and melphalan). In arm A+I Ibrutinib is added to the R-CHOP cycles (560 mg day 1-19) and applied as maintenance (continuous dosing) for 2 years. In arm I the same induction and maintenance is applied but high dose consolidation and autologous SCT is skipped. A rituximab maintenance (single doses every 2 months up to 3 years) may be added in all study arms according to national clinical routine.

The primary study aim is to show superiority of one of three study arms as future standard of care based on the comparison of the investigator-assessed failure-free survival (FFS), i.e. to investigate if the addition of ibrutinib improves the efficacy of standard 1st line treatment, and can even challenge the use of high-dose chemotherapy with autologous SCT. Secondary study aims include the efficacy of the three treatment arms and the safety and tolerability of ibrutinib during induction immuno-chemotherapy and maintenance. Accordingly, overall and complete response rates, progression-free and overall survival will be determined as well as adverse events during induction immuno-chemotherapy and follow-up including the cumulative incidence rates of SPMs. In addition, minimal residual disease is regularly determined based on patient-specific PCR assay according to the standardized Biomed-2 procedure.

Results: As of July 30th, 511 of up to 870 patients have been randomized from 12 different European countries. In a meanwhile completed safety run-in of the initial 50 patients, feasibility of the two experimental arms was confirmed with no major differences in hematological and other toxicities and no major delays during induction.


Dreyling:Acerta: Other: Scientific advisory board; Novartis: Other: Scientific advisory board; Mundipharma: Other: Scientific advisory board, Research Funding; Janssen: Other: Scientific advisory board, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Gilead: Other: Scientific advisory board, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Other: Scientific advisory board, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Bayer: Other: Scientific advisory board, Speakers Bureau; Sandoz: Other: Scientific advisory board; Roche: Other: Scientific advisory board, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau. Ladetto:Roche: Honoraria; AbbVie: Honoraria; J&J: Honoraria; Celgene: Honoraria; Pfizer: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Acerta: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; ADC Therapeutics: Honoraria. Doorduijn:Roche: Honoraria, Research Funding. Gine:Janssen: Other: Travel expenses, Research Funding; Gilead: Other: Travel expenses, Research Funding; Roche: Other: Travel expenses, Research Funding. Jerkeman:Janssen: Honoraria, Research Funding; Gilead: Honoraria, Research Funding; Acerta: Honoraria, Research Funding; Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding; Roche: Honoraria, Research Funding. Mey:Janssen-Cilag: Consultancy; Roche: Consultancy, Research Funding. Hutchings:Takeda: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding. Kolstad:Merck: Research Funding; Nordic Nanovector: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Trneny:Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Honoraria; Amgen: Consultancy, Honoraria; Abbvie: Consultancy, Honoraria; Incyte: Consultancy, Honoraria; Gilead sciences: Consultancy, Honoraria; Takeda: Consultancy, Honoraria; Janssen: Consultancy, Honoraria; Morphosys: Consultancy, Honoraria. Gomes da Silva:AbbVie: Consultancy, Other: Travel support; Roche: Consultancy, Other: Travel support; Janssen-Cilag: Consultancy, Other: Travel support; Celgene: Consultancy; Gilead Siences: Other: Travel support, Research Funding. Klapper:Roche, Takeda, Amgen, Regeneron: Honoraria, Research Funding. Unterhalt:F. Hoffmann-La Roche: Research Funding. Hoster:Janssen: Research Funding; Roche Pharma AG: Other: Travel Support.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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