Venetoclax, bendamustine, and rituximab in patients with relapsed or refractory NHL: A phase Ib dose-finding study

S. De Vos, L. J. Swinnen, D. Wang, E. Reid, N. Fowler, J. Cordero, M. Dunbar, S. H. Enschede, C. Nolan, A. M. Petrich, J. A. Ross, A. H. Salem, M. Verdugo, S. Agarwal, L. Zhou, M. Kozloff, L. J. Nastoupil, C. R. Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Background Venetoclax is a selective, potent inhibitor of the anti-apoptotic B-cell leukemia/lymphoma-2 protein approved for treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. We conducted a dose-finding study of venetoclax in combination with bendamustine-rituximab (BR) in patients with relapsed/refractory non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). Patients and methods BR was given for six cycles at standard doses. Intermittent and continuous oral venetoclax administration was explored at 50-1200 mg daily doses. Co-primary objectives included safety, pharmacokinetics (PKs), maximum-tolerated dose (MTD), and recommended phase II dose (RP2D); secondary objective was preliminary efficacy. Results Sixty patients were enrolled: 32 with follicular lymphoma, 22 with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, and 6 with marginal zone lymphoma. Nausea (70%), neutropenia (68%), diarrhea (55%), and thrombocytopenia (52%) were the most frequent adverse events (AEs). Most common grade 3/4 AEs were neutropenia (60%) and lymphopenia (38%). Serious AEs were reported in 24 patients; the most frequent were febrile neutropenia and disease progression (8% each). Five patients died from either disease progression (n = 4) or respiratory failure (n = 1). MTD was not reached; RP2D for venetoclax-BR combination was established as 800 mg daily continuously. Venetoclax PK exposure with and without BR was comparable. For all patients, overall response rate was 65%. Median duration of overall response, overall survival, and progression-free survival was 38.3 months [95% confidence interval (CI) 10.4-NR], not yet reached, and 10.7 months (95% CI 4.3-21.0), respectively. Conclusions This study established the safety profile of venetoclax in combination with BR, and results demonstrated tolerability and preliminary efficacy of the combination. Additional follow-up is needed to better determine the future role of BR plus venetoclax in the treatment of relapsed/refractory B-cell NHL. Trial registered, NCT01594229.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1932-1938
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • bendamustine-rituximab
  • phase Ib
  • relapsed/refractory NHL
  • venetoclax

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Oncology


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