Phase II Venetoclax, Obinutuzumab and Bendamustine in High Tumor Burden Follicular Lymphoma as Front Line Therapy


  • Study type

  • Study phase

  • Study IDs

  • Describes the nature of a clinical study. Types include:

    • Observational study — observes people and measures outcomes without affecting results.
    • Interventional study (clinical trial) — studies new tests, treatments, drugs, surgical procedures or devices.
    • Medical records research — uses historical information collected from medical records of large groups of people to study how diseases progress and which treatments and surgeries work best.
  • During the early phases (phases 1 and 2), researchers assess safety, side effects, optimal dosages and risks/benefits. In the later phase (phase 3), researchers study whether the treatment works better than the current standard therapy. They also compare the safety of the new treatment with that of current treatments. Phase 3 trials include large numbers of people to make sure that the result is valid. There are also less common very early (phase 0) and later (phase 4) phases. Phase 0 trials are small trials that help researchers decide if a new agent should be tested in a phase 1 trial. Phase 4 trials look at long-term safety and effectiveness, after a new treatment has been approved and is on the market.

  • Site IRB
    • Rochester, Minnesota: 18-000774
    NCT ID: NCT03113422
    Sponsor Protocol Number: PrE0403

About this study

Patients with high tumor burden, low grade follicular lymphoma that has never been treated, will receive venetoclax in combination with obinutuzumab and bendamustine. Venetoclax is an oral Bcl-2 family protein inhibitor. It targets the B-cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) protein, which supports cancer cell growth and is overexpressed in many patients with follicular lymphoma. Venetoclax may help to slow down the growth of cancer or may cause cancer cells to die. The purpose of this study is to see whether adding venetoclax to obinutuzumab and bendamustine improves the response (the tumor shrinks or disappears) in patients with follicular lymphoma.

Participation eligibility

Participant eligibility includes age, gender, type and stage of disease, and previous treatments or health concerns. Guidelines differ from study to study, and identify who can or cannot participate. If you need assistance understanding the eligibility criteria, please contact the study team.

See eligibility criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Patient must have a histologically confirmed (biopsy-proven) diagnosis of follicular B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (WHO classification: follicular center grades 1, 2, and 3a [3b patients are not eligible]), with no evidence of transformation to large cell histology.
  • Patient must meet criteria for High Tumor Burden (higher risk) as defined by either the Groupe D'Etude des Lymphomes Follicularies (GELF) criteria [at least one criterion] OR the follicular lymphoma international prognostic index (FLIPI) [score of 3, 4, or 5].
  • Patient must have Stage II, III or IV disease.
  • Baseline measurements and evaluations (PET/ CT) must be obtained within 10 weeks of randomization to the study. Patient must have at least one objective measurable disease parameter.
  • Age ≥ 18 years.
  • Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) performance status of 0-2.
  • Ability to understand and willingness to sign Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved informed consent.
  • Willing to provide mandatory tissue samples (if sufficient tissue available) for research purposes.
  • Adequate organ function as measured by the following criteria:
    • Absolute Neutrophil Count (ANC) ≥ 1000/mm³
    • Hemoglobin ≥ 8 g/dL
    • Platelets ˃75,000/mm³
    • Creatinine clearance ≥ 50 mL/min, calculated with the use of 24-hour creatinine clearance or by Cockcroft-Gault formula
    • Total Bilirubin ≤ 1.5x Upper Limit of Normal (ULN) or ≤ 3x ULN for patients with documented Gilbert's syndrome
    • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)/ alanine aminotransferase (ALT) ≤ 2.5x ULN
    • Alkaline Phosphatase <5x ULN
  • All females of childbearing potential (not surgically sterilized and between menarche and 1 year post menopause) must have a blood or urine test to rule out pregnancy within 2 weeks prior to registration.
  • Women must not be pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Patient must have had no prior chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy for lymphoma. For purposes of this trial, prednisone or other corticosteroids used for non-lymphomatous conditions will not be considered as prior chemotherapy. In addition, a prior/recent short course (<2 weeks) of steroids for symptom relief of lymphoma-related symptoms will not make a patient ineligible.
  • Patient must have no recent history of malignancy except for adequately treated basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer, Stage I melanoma of the skin, or in situ cervical cancer. Individuals in documented remission without treatment for ≥ 2 years prior to enrollment may be included at the discretion of the investigator.
  • Patient must have no active, uncontrolled infections.
  • Patients must be tested for hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg+) and hepatitis C (HCV) antibody within 6 weeks of registration. Patients who are chronic carriers of HBV with positive HBsAg+ and positive HCV serology are excluded, as chemotherapy and B-cell depleting therapy have been associated with virus reactivation and fulminant hepatitis. NOTE: Patients with a past or resolved HBV infection (defined as the presence of hepatitis B core antibody [anti-HBc] and absence of HBsAg) may be included if HBV DNA is undetectable. If enrolled, patients must be willing to undergo monthly HBV DNA testing. Patients with positive HCV antibody must be negative for HCV by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to be eligible for study participation.
  • HIV positive patients are not excluded, but to enroll, must meet all of the below criteria:
    • HIV is sensitive to antiretroviral therapy.
    • Must be willing to take effective antiretroviral therapy if indicated.
    • No history of CD4 prior to or at the time of lymphoma diagnosis <300 cells/mm³.
    • No history of AIDS-defining conditions.
    • If on antiretroviral therapy, must not be taking zidovudine or stavudine.
    • Must be willing to take prophylaxis for Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia during therapy and until at least 2 months following the completion of therapy or until the CD4 cells recover to over 250 cells/mm³, whichever occurs later.
  • Evidence of significant, uncontrolled concomitant diseases that could affect compliance with the protocol or interpretation of results or that could increase risk to the patient.
  • No major surgery within 2 weeks prior to cycle 1, other than for diagnosis.
  • A condition that precludes oral route of administration (venetoclax).
  • No known allergies to both xanthine oxidase inhibitors and rasburicase.
  • Patient must not require the use of warfarin (because of potential drug-drug interactions that may potentially increase the exposure of warfarin). Blood thinners of other classes are permitted.
  • Patient may not receive the following agents within 7 days prior to the first dose of venetoclax:
    • Strong and moderate CYP3A inhibitors
    • Strong and moderate CYP3A inducers
    • Consumed grapefruit, grapefruit products, Seville oranges (including marmalade containing Seville oranges), or star fruit within 3 days prior to the first dose of venetoclax.
  • Patient must not have serious medical or psychiatric illness likely to interfere with participation in this clinical study.

Participating Mayo Clinic locations

Study statuses change often. Please contact us for help.

Mayo Clinic Location Status Contact

Rochester, Minn.

Mayo Clinic principal investigator

Grzegorz Nowakowski, M.D.

Open for enrollment

Contact information:

Cancer Center Clinical Trials Referral Office


More information


  • D C DC. Phillips, Y Y. Xiao, L T LT. Lam, E E. Litvinovich, L L. Roberts-Rapp, A J AJ. Souers, J D JD. Leverson. Blood cancer journal 2015 Nov; (5):e368

    As a population, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) cell lines positive for the t(14;18) translocation and/or possessing elevated BCL2 copy number (CN; BCL2(High)) are exquisitely sensitive to navitoclax or the B-cell lymphoma protein-2 (BCL-2)-selective inhibitor venetoclax. Despite this, some BCL2(High) cell lines remain resistant to either agent. Here we show that the MCL-1-specific inhibitor A-1210477 sensitizes these cell lines to navitoclax. Chemical segregation of this synergy with the BCL-2-selective inhibitor venetoclax or BCL-XL-selective inhibitor A-1155463 indicated that MCL-1 and BCL-2 are the two key anti-apoptotic targets for sensitization. Similarly, the CDK inhibitor flavopiridol downregulated MCL-1 expression and synergized with venetoclax in BCL2(High) NHL cell lines to a similar extent as A-1210477. A-1210477 also synergized with navitoclax in the majority of BCL2(Low) NHL cell lines. However, chemical segregation with venetoclax or A-1155463 revealed that synergy was driven by BCL-XL inhibition in this population. Collectively these data emphasize that BCL2 status is predictive of venetoclax potency in NHL not only as a single agent, but also in the adjuvant setting with anti-tumorigenic agents that inhibit MCL-1 function. These studies also potentially identify a patient population (BCL2(Low)) that could benefit from BCL-XL (navitoclax)-driven combination therapy.

  • Regula R. Burkhard, Govind G. Bhagat, Sergio B SB. Cogliatti, Davide D. Rossi, Gianluca G. Gaidano, Laura L. Pasqualucci, Urban U. Novak. Hematological oncology 2015 Mar; (33):23-30 1

    BCL2 is a target of somatic hypermutation in t(14;18) positive and also in a small fraction of t(14;18) negative diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), suggesting an aberrant role of somatic hypermutation (ASHM). To elucidate the prevalence of BCL2 mutations in lymphomas other than DLBCL, we Sanger-sequenced the hypermutable region of the BCL2 gene in a panel of 69 mature B-cell lymphomas, including Richter's syndrome DLBCL, marginal-zone lymphomas, post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders, HIV-associated and common-variable immunodeficiency-associated DLBCL, all known to harbour ASHM-dependent mutations in other genes, as well as 16 t(14,18) negative and 21 t(14;18) positive follicular lymphomas (FLs). We also investigated the pattern of BCL2 mutations in longitudinal samples from 10 FL patients relapsing to FL or transforming to DLBCL (tFL). By direct sequencing, we found clonally represented BCL2 mutations in 2/16 (13%) of t(14;18) negative FLs, 2/16 (13%) HIV-DLBCLs, 1/9 (11%) of Richter's syndrome DLBCL, 1/17 (6%) of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders and 1/2 (50%) common-variable immunodeficiency-associated DLBCL. The proportion of mutated cases was significantly lower than in FLs carrying the t(14;18) translocation (15/21, 71%). However, the absence of t(14;18) by FISH or PCR and the molecular features of the mutations strongly suggest that BCL2 represents an additional target of ASHM in these entities. Analysis of the BCL2 mutation pattern in clonally related FL/FL and FL/tFL samples revealed two distinct scenarios of genomic evolution: (i) direct evolution from the antecedent FL clone, with few novel clonal mutations acquired by the tFL major clone, and (ii) evolution from a common mutated long-lived progenitor cell, which subsequently acquired distinct mutations in the FL and in the relapsed or transformed counterpart.

  • Sylvia S. Herter, Frank F. Herting, Olaf O. Mundigl, Inja I. Waldhauer, Tina T. Weinzierl, Tanja T. Fauti, Gunter G. Muth, Doris D. Ziegler-Landesberger, Erwin E. Van Puijenbroek, Sabine S. Lang, Minh Ngoc MN. Duong, Lina L. Reslan, Christian A CA. Gerdes, Thomas T. Friess, Ute U. Baer, Helmut H. Burtscher, Michael M. Weidner, Charles C. Dumontet, Pablo P. Umana, Gerhard G. Niederfellner, Marina M. Bacac, Christian C. Klein. Molecular cancer therapeutics 2013 Oct; (12):2031-42 10

    We report the first preclinical in vitro and in vivo comparison of GA101 (obinutuzumab), a novel glycoengineered type II CD20 monoclonal antibody, with rituximab and ofatumumab, the two currently approved type I CD20 antibodies. The three antibodies were compared in assays measuring direct cell death (AnnexinV/PI staining and time-lapse microscopy), complement-dependent cytotoxicity (CDC), antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), antibody-dependent cell-mediated phagocytosis (ADCP), and internalization. The models used for the comparison of their activity in vivo were SU-DHL4 and RL xenografts. GA101 was found to be superior to rituximab and ofatumumab in the induction of direct cell death (independent of mechanical manipulation required for cell aggregate disruption formed by antibody treatment), whereas it was 10 to 1,000 times less potent in mediating CDC. GA101 showed superior activity to rituximab and ofatumumab in ADCC and whole-blood B-cell depletion assays, and was comparable with these two in ADCP. GA101 also showed slower internalization rate upon binding to CD20 than rituximab and ofatumumab. In vivo, GA101 induced a strong antitumor effect, including complete tumor remission in the SU-DHL4 model and overall superior efficacy compared with both rituximab and ofatumumab. When rituximab-pretreated animals were used, second-line treatment with GA101 was still able to control tumor progression, whereas tumors escaped rituximab treatment. Taken together, the preclinical data show that the glyoengineered type II CD20 antibody GA101 is differentiated from the two approved type I CD20 antibodies rituximab and ofatumumab by its overall preclinical activity, further supporting its clinical investigation.

  • Andrew J AJ. Souers, Joel D JD. Leverson, Erwin R ER. Boghaert, Scott L SL. Ackler, Nathaniel D ND. Catron, Jun J. Chen, Brian D BD. Dayton, Hong H. Ding, Sari H SH. Enschede, Wayne J WJ. Fairbrother, David C S DC. Huang, Sarah G SG. Hymowitz, Sha S. Jin, Seong Lin SL. Khaw, Peter J PJ. Kovar, Lloyd T LT. Lam, Jackie J. Lee, Heather L HL. Maecker, Kennan C KC. Marsh, Kylie D KD. Mason, Michael J MJ. Mitten, Paul M PM. Nimmer, Anatol A. Oleksijew, Chang H CH. Park, Cheol-Min CM. Park, Darren C DC. Phillips, Andrew W AW. Roberts, Deepak D. Sampath, John F JF. Seymour, Morey L ML. Smith, Gerard M GM. Sullivan, Stephen K SK. Tahir, Chris C. Tse, Michael D MD. Wendt, Yu Y. Xiao, John C JC. Xue, Haichao H. Zhang, Rod A RA. Humerickhouse, Saul H SH. Rosenberg, Steven W SW. Elmore. Nature medicine 2013 Feb; (19):202-8 2

    Proteins in the B cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family are key regulators of the apoptotic process. This family comprises proapoptotic and prosurvival proteins, and shifting the balance toward the latter is an established mechanism whereby cancer cells evade apoptosis. The therapeutic potential of directly inhibiting prosurvival proteins was unveiled with the development of navitoclax, a selective inhibitor of both BCL-2 and BCL-2-like 1 (BCL-X(L)), which has shown clinical efficacy in some BCL-2-dependent hematological cancers. However, concomitant on-target thrombocytopenia caused by BCL-X(L) inhibition limits the efficacy achievable with this agent. Here we report the re-engineering of navitoclax to create a highly potent, orally bioavailable and BCL-2-selective inhibitor, ABT-199. This compound inhibits the growth of BCL-2-dependent tumors in vivo and spares human platelets. A single dose of ABT-199 in three patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia resulted in tumor lysis within 24 h. These data indicate that selective pharmacological inhibition of BCL-2 shows promise for the treatment of BCL-2-dependent hematological cancers.

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