Phase 2 Open-Label Study of Bortezomib, Cladribine, and Rituximab in Advanced, Newly Diagnosed, and Relapsed/Refractory Mantle-Cell and Indolent Lymphomas

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Mantle-cell lymphoma (MCL) and indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL) are incurable heterogeneous diseases characterized by relapse. There is a need for newer treatments in MCL and iNHL, especially in the relapsed/refractory (R/R) setting. We therefore investigated the novel combination of bortezomib (Velcade), cladribine, and rituximab (VCR) in front-line and R/R settings in MCL and iNHL (NCT00980395).

Patients and Methods

Eligible patients included adults with biopsy-proven CD20-positive MCL and iNHL who met the criteria for treatment. Rituximab 375 mg/m2 intravenous (IV) day 1, cladribine 4 mg/m2 IV days 1 to 5, and bortezomib 1.3 mg/m2 IV days 1 and 4 were administered every 28 days for 6 cycles.


Twenty-four patients were enrolled onto the study with a median follow-up of 38.5 months. Median age was 66.5 years, and 46% had MCL. The most common adverse events were hematologic, with febrile neutropenia in 3 patients. Neuropathy was noted in 17% of patients, of which 8% was grade 3 or above. The overall response rate was 92%. For the entire cohort, and for MCL patients, the median progression-free survival and the median overall survival were not reached. The 2-year progression-free survival was 82% for the MCL group and 54% for the iNHL group; it was 80% for treatment-naive patients and 57% for R/R patients.


VCR is effective in MCL and iNHL. Although hematologic toxicity can be an issue, this study demonstrates a high response rate to a novel combination and provides an alternative option in transplant-ineligible R/R MCL and iNHL.


The combination of bortezomib, cladribine, and rituximab is novel and effective in mantle-cell and indolent non-Hodgkin lymphomas.

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