R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC versus DA-EPOCH-R in patients with newly diagnosed Burkitt lymphoma (HOVON/SAKK): final results of a multicentre, phase 3, open-label, randomised trial

Background: Patients with newly diagnosed high-risk Burkitt lymphoma are treated with high-intensity immune-chemotherapy regimens such as R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC or with lower-intensity regimens such as DA-EPOCH-R. The aim of this study was to make a formal comparison between these regimens. Methods: This multicentre, phase 3, open-label, randomised study was done in 26 clinical centres in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. Eligible patients were aged 18–75 years with newly diagnosed high-risk Burkitt lymphoma without CNS involvement. Patients were randomly assigned to two cycles of R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC (R-CODOX-M: rituximab 375 mg/m2 on day 1 and 9, cyclophosphamide 800 mg/m2 on day 1, cyclophosphamide 200 mg/m2 on days 2–5, vincristine 1·5 mg/m2 on days 1 and 8, doxorubicin 40 mg/m2 on day 1, and methotrexate 3000 mg/m2 on day 10; R-IVAC: rituximab 375 mg/m2 on days 3 and 7, iphosphamide 1500 mg/m2 on days 1–5, etoposide 60 mg/m2 on days 1–5, and cytarabin 2000 mg/m2 on day 1 and 2) or six cycles of DA-EPOCH-R (dose-adjusted etoposide 50–124 mg/m2 on days 1–4, prednisolone 120 mg/m2 on days 1–5, vincristine 0·4 mg/m2 on days 1–4, dose-adjusted cyclophosphamide 480–1866 mg/m2 on day 5, dose-adjusted doxorubicin 10–24·8 mg/m2 on days 1–4, rituximab 375 mg/m2 on days 1 and 5). Patients older than 65 years received a dose modified R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC. All drugs were intravenous except for prednisolone, which was oral. Patients also received four intrathecal CNS administrations with cytarabin (70 mg) and four with methotrexate (15 mg). Patients were stratified by centre, leukemic disease, and HIV-positivity. The primary endpoint was progression-fee survival. All analyses were done by modified intention-to-treat, excluding randomly assigned patients who were subsequently found to have CNS involvement or diagnosis other than Burkitt lymphoma at study entry. This study is registered with the European Clinical Trial Register, EudraCT2013-004394-27. Findings: Due to a slow accrual, the study was closed prematurely on Nov 15, 2021. Between Aug 4, 2014, and Sept 17, 2021, 89 patients were enrolled and randomly assigned to receive R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC (n=46) or DA-EPOCH-R (n=43). Five patients were excluded after random assignment (three in the R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC group [one diagnosis other than Burkitt lymphoma at study entry according to local pathology and two CNS involvement] and two in the DA-EPOCH-R group [one diagnosis other than Burkitt lymphoma at study entry according to local pathology and one CNS involvement]. 84 remaining patients were included in the modified intention-to-treat analysis. 73 (87%) of 84 patients were male, 76 (90%) presented with stage III or IV disease, and nine (11%) had HIV-positive Burkitt lymphoma. Median patient age was 52 years (IQR 37–64). With a median follow-up of 28·5 months (IQR 13·2–43·7), 2-year progression-free survival was 76% (95% CI 60–86%) in the R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC group and 70% (54–82%) in the DA-EPOCH-R group (hazard ratio 1·42, 95% CI 0·63–3·18; p=0·40). There were two deaths in the R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC group (one infection [treatment related] and one due to disease progression [not treatment related]) and one death in the DA-EPOCH-R group (COVID-19 infection [treatment related]). In the R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC group, four patients went off-protocol because of toxic effects, versus none in the DA-EPOCH-R group. Patients treated with R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC had more infectious adverse events (24 [56%] of 43 patients had at least one grade 3–5 infection vs 14 [34%] of 41 patients in the DA-EPOCH-R group). Interpretation: The trial stopped early, but the available data suggest that while DA-EPOCH-R did not result in superior progression-free survival compared with R-CODOX-M/R-IVAC, it was associated with fewer toxic effects and need for supportive care. DA-EPOCH-R appears to be an additional valid therapeutic option for patients with high-risk Burkitt lymphoma without CNS involvement. Funding: The Dutch Cancer Society and the Schumacher-Kramer Foundation.

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