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Venetoclax Plus Rituximab, Cyclophosphamide, Doxorubicin, Vincristine and Prednisolone (R-CHOP) Improves Outcomes in BCL2-Positive First-Line Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL): First Safety, Efficacy and Biomarker Analyses from the Phase II CAVALLI Study

Franck Morschhauser, Pierre Feugier, Ian W. Flinn, Robin E Gasiorowski, Richard Greil, Árpád Illés, Nathalie A Johnson, Jean-Francois Larouche, Pieternella J Lugtenburg, Caterina Patti, Gilles Salles, Marek Trněný, Sven de Vos, Farheen Mir, Martin Kornacker, Elizabeth A Punnoose, Divya Samineni, Edith Szafer-Glusman, Adam Petrich, Arijit Sinha, Mehrdad Mobasher and Andrew D. Zelenetz

Abstract

Introduction: BCL2 overexpression leading to evasion of apoptosis is common in hematologic malignancies. In DLBCL, 50% of patients (pts) overexpress BCL2 protein, 30% overexpress BCL2 and MYC (double-expressor [DE]) and 5-10% have translocations of BCL2 and MYC (double-hit [DH]), all of which are associated with a poor prognosis. We hypothesized that combination of the BCL2 inhibitor venetoclax (Ven) with chemotherapy would improve DLBCL outcomes based on pre-clinical and early clinical data. The Phase Ib part of the CAVALLI (NCT02055820) study assessed the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of CHOP + rituximab (R) or obinutuzumab (G) with Ven (200-800mg) in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, recommending 800mg of Ven + R-CHOP for Phase II. The single-arm, multicenter Phase II part of CAVALLI investigated the efficacy of Ven + R-CHOP in all first-line (1L) DLBCL pts, by BCL2 immunohistochemistry (IHC) status within cell-of-origin (COO) subtypes, by BCL2 fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and in DE and DH pts, with the intent to compare against a matched pt population in the R-CHOP arm of the GOYA Phase III study. Here we report the first safety, efficacy and biomarker analyses in all pts from this ongoing Phase II study.

Methods: Eligible pts (age ≥18 yrs; Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status ≤2; 1L DLBCL; International Prognostic Index score 2-5; ≥1 measurable lesion >1.5cm) were assigned to receive six 3-weekly cycles of R-CHOP + 800mg Ven daily for 10 days (Days 1-10, except Cycle 1: Days 4-10), followed by two 3-weekly cycles of 800mg Ven on Days 1-10 + R on Day 1. The primary endpoint was PET-CT response 6-8 weeks after the last R dose (EoT), according to a modified version of Lugano 2014 criteria. Secondary endpoints were progression-free survival (PFS) and safety.

Biomarker analyses in CAVALLI and GOYA were performed in pre-treatment tumor samples including a BCL2 IHC assay (cutoff: 50% medium/high expression), MYC IHC assay (cutoff 40% signal), BCL2 and MYC FISH, and COO assay (Nanostring).

Results: 211 pts were enrolled; 208 received any treatment and were included in efficacy and safety analyses. Overall, pt characteristics were similar for CAVALLI and GOYA, except CAVALLI enrolled more Ann Arbor Stage IV (65.4% vs 47.1%) and BCL2 IHC-positive pts (57.7% vs 50.0%). The EoT complete response rate in all pts did not differ significantly between CAVALLI and GOYA (69.2% vs 62.8%, respectively; Table 1), but was improved in BCL2-positive subgroups, specifically in BCL2 FISH-positive (70.0% vs 47.5%) and DH (71.4% vs 25.0%) pts. With 20 months' median follow-up in CAVALLI, disease progression and death had occurred in 29 and 6 pts, respectively. When compared with GOYA and adjusted for baseline covariates by Cox methodology, PFS improvement was observed in BCL2 IHC-positive pts (HR, 0.53; 95% CI: 0.30-0.93), including within both activated B-cell (ABC; HR, 0.43; 95% CI: 0.19-0.94) and germinal center B-cell (GCB; HR, 0.41; 95% CI: 0.17-0.95) COO subgroups. No PFS benefit was observed in BCL2 IHC-negative GCB pts; the BCL2 IHC-negative ABC subgroup was too small for evaluation (Figure 1).

Grade 3-4 adverse events (AEs) occurred in 85% (176/208) of pts in CAVALLI versus 66% (373/574) in GOYA; the majority were cytopenias, infections and febrile neutropenia (Table 2). In CAVALLI, 1% (3/208) of AEs were fatal versus 5% (30/564) in GOYA but follow-up was longer in GOYA (57 vs 20 months). The higher rate of AEs in CAVALLI led to dose interruptions/discontinuations of both Ven and R-CHOP; 61% of pts had >90% relative dose intensity (RDI) of Ven; 73.2% of CAVALLI pts had >90% RDI of each of doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide versus 76.4% for doxorubicin and 77.6% for cyclophosphamide in GOYA. There were no major differences in grade 3-4 AEs or the RDI of R-CHOP across intention-to-treat and BCL2-positive subgroups. GCSF prophylaxis was recommended, but not uniformly delivered.

Conclusions: The addition of Ven to R-CHOP in 1L DLBCL treatment resulted in improved efficacy in BCL2 IHC-positive pts compared with matched GOYA controls. Higher rates of cytopenia, infection and febrile neutropenia were observed in CAVALLI versus the R-CHOP arm in GOYA. These data further support exploration of Ven + R-CHOP in a high-risk population of BCL2-positive 1L DLBCL, including DH pts.

Disclosures Morschhauser: Epizyme: Consultancy; Servier: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; BMS: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Janssen: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Roche/Genentech: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Gilead: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Feugier: Janssen: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Abbvie: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Gilead: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Flinn: Agios: Research Funding; Verastem: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Pharmacyclics: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; ArQule: Research Funding; Constellation: Research Funding; Curis: Research Funding; Genentech: Research Funding; Forma: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; BeiGene: Research Funding; Pfizer: Research Funding; Forty Seven: Research Funding; TG Therapeutics: Research Funding; Portola: Research Funding; Calithera: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Research Funding; Verastem: Consultancy, Research Funding; Trillium: Research Funding; Gilead: Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; Infinity: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding; Kite: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding. Gasiorowski: Novartis: Honoraria; MSD: Honoraria. Greil: Astra Zeneca: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; BMS: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Janssen: Other: TRAVEL, ACCOMMODATIONS, EXPENSES; Abbvie: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; MSD: Honoraria, Research Funding; Sandoz: Honoraria, Research Funding; Amgen: Honoraria, Other: TRAVEL, ACCOMMODATIONS, EXPENSES, Research Funding; Novartis: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Merck: Honoraria, Research Funding; Takeda: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Illés: Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Novartis: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Takeda: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Roche: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Johnson: Merck: Consultancy, Honoraria; Roche: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: travel, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Honoraria; Seattle Genetics: Honoraria; Lundbeck: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: travel, Research Funding; AbbVie Inc.: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding. Lugtenburg: Genmab: Consultancy; Squibb: Consultancy; Takeda: Consultancy, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy; Sandoz: Consultancy; Bristol-Meyers: Consultancy; Servier: Consultancy, Research Funding; Roche: Consultancy. Salles: BMS: Honoraria, Other: Advisory Board; Servier: Honoraria, Other: Advisory Board; Servier: Honoraria; Celgene: Honoraria, Other: Advisory Board, Research Funding; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Epizyme: Honoraria; Morphosys: Honoraria; Abbvie: Honoraria; Acerta: Honoraria; Amgen: Honoraria; Novartis: Consultancy, Honoraria; Takeda: Honoraria; Merck: Honoraria; Pfizer: Honoraria; Janssen: Honoraria, Other: Advisory Board; Gilead: Honoraria, Other: Advisory Board. Trněný: Morphosys: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Advisory board; F. Hoffman-La Roche Ltd: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Advisory board, Research Funding; Incyte: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Advisory board; Takeda: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Advisory board; Gilead: Honoraria; Celgene: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Advisory board; Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Other: Advisory board; Sandoz: Honoraria; Abbvie: Honoraria, Research Funding. Mir: F. Hoffmann-La Roche: Employment. Kornacker: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: Employment. Punnoose: Roche: Equity Ownership; Genentech Inc: Employment. Samineni: Genentech Inc: Employment, Other: Ownership interests non-PLC. Szafer-Glusman: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: Employment, Other: Ownership interests PLC. Petrich: Abbvie: Employment, Other: Ownership interests PLC. Sinha: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: Employment. Mobasher: Genentech Inc: Employment; F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd: Other: Ownership interests non-PLC. Zelenetz: Celgene: Consultancy; Abbvie: Research Funding; Gilead: Consultancy, Research Funding; AstraZeneca: Consultancy; Genentech/Roche: Consultancy, Research Funding; Novartis/Sandoz: Consultancy; Amgen: Consultancy.

  • * Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.