Background: Patients with relapsed/refractory (R/R) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) often have a poor prognosis despite therapies using second-line chemoimmunotherapy. Achievement of CR with second-line therapy is associated with improved long-term outcomes. Unfortunately, only 25-35% of patients achieve complete response (CR) with RICE chemotherapy alone. The addition of novel targeted agents such as Bruton Tyrosine Kinase inhibitors (BTKi) to second-line therapy may offer improved treatment responses given the importance of B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling in DLBCL. BTK has been shown to be essential for BCR-mediated activation of the NF- κB/Rel family of transcription factors and BCR signaling has been recognized as a key pathway in the pathogenesis of DLBCL. Moreover, NF-κB activity relies upon chronic active BCR signaling in activated B-cell-like DLBCL, which can be potentially blocked by kinase inhibitors targeting BTK. The goal of this study is to examine the feasibility and efficacy of adding the BTKi, acalabrutinib, to standard second-line therapy as a means to improve disease response. Establishing the feasibility of combining acalabrutinib with RICE chemotherapy in autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) eligible and HCT ineligible patients with R/R DLBCL may provide the foundation for a larger study of efficacy and long-term outcomes of the combination therapy for patients with R/R DLBCL.

Study Design and Methods: The primary objective of this phase 2 trial is to evaluate the tolerability, feasibility, and efficacy of combining acalabrutinib with RICE as second line therapy in R/R DLBCL patients. There are two study cohorts. Cohort A is open to R/R DLBCL patients who are eligible for autologous HCT. Cohort B is open to R/R DLBCL patients who are considered medically ineligible for autologous HCT. The primary endpoint for cohort A is to estimate the confirmed CR rate (RECIL 2017 criteria) prior to HCT in patients undergoing second-line therapy. The primary endpoint for cohort B is defined as the estimate of one-year progression-free survival in patients undergoing second-line induction and maintenance acalabrutinib therapy. Secondary endpoints include assessment of the proportion of patients completing 3 cycles of acalabrutinib with RICE and proceeding with HCT or 2 additional cycles of maintenance acalabrutinib for HCT ineligible patients, overall response rate, incidence of Grade 3/4 adverse events, and incidence of SAEs.

Patients in cohort A receive 2 cycles of standard RICE salvage chemoimmunotherapy in combination with acalabrutinib, 100mg BID day 1-21 of a 21 day cycle. After 2 cycles of therapy, patients in cohort A undergo autologous stem cell mobilization and collection. Patients then receive a 3rd cycle of RICE in combination with acalabrutinib. PET-CT (PET3) is performed 14-21 days after day 1 of cycle 3 to assess response. Those patients with CR or partial response (PR) after PET3 proceed to autologous HCT with BEAM conditioning within 28-42 days of PET3. After adequate hematopoietic recovery, patients restart acalabrutinib 100mg BID as maintenance therapy for a period of 12 additional months.

Patients in cohort B receive 3 cycles of RICE salvage chemoimmunotherapy in combination with acalabrutinib 100mg BID day 1-21 of a 21-day cycle followed by PET-CT (PET3) 14-21 days after start of Cycle 3. Patients without progressive disease at PET3 continue with acalabrutinib maintenance up to 12 additional cycles until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. Patients demonstrating progressive disease are withdrawn from study treatment but their outcomes continue to be recorded and will be included in the final data analysis. Historical outcomes from completed, published prospective clinical trials using RICE chemoimmunotherapy serve as a reference for statistical calculations.

This trial is currently ongoing and additional information can be found on clinicaltrials.gov NCT listing NCT03736616

Disclosures

Bensinger:BMS: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Sanofi: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Janssen: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Amgen: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; GSK: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Regeneron: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau. Mawad:Abbvie: Speakers Bureau; Adaptive Biotechnologies: Speakers Bureau. Glennie:Pharmacyclics: Speakers Bureau; Janssen: Speakers Bureau. Patel:Pharmacyclics: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Janssen: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Kite: Consultancy; AstraZeneca: Consultancy, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Adaptive Biotechnologies: Consultancy; Genentech: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Celgene/BMS: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; BeiGene: Consultancy.

OffLabel Disclosure:

Acalabrutinib is used an investigational agent for DLBCL in this study.

Author notes

*

Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.