Altered DNA methylation and histone acetylation in lymphoma provided the rationale for using vorinostat (SAHA), cladribine and rituximab (SCR) in non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) in this phase 1–2 study (NCT00764517). Treatment included cladribine 5 mg/m2 intravenously (IV) (days 1–5), rituximab 375 mg/m2 IV (weekly 4× for cycle 1 and 1×/month) and vorinostat orally once daily (days 1–14) every 28 days for up to six cycles. Phase 1 included relapsed patients (n = 10) in a standard 3 + 3 dose escalation design (vorinostat: 200, 300 and 400 mg). No dose-limiting toxicities were seen. The phase 2 dose for vorinostat was 400 mg po (days 1–14). The majority of phase 2 patients had mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) (n = 57; 39 previously untreated, 10 relapsed). The primary objective was objective response rate [complete response (CR) + partial response] which was 39% (7/18) in relapsed patients and 97% (38/39) with 80% (31/39) attaining a CR in previously untreated MCL. At a median follow-up of 42 months, median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) for relapsed NHL were 19·5 [95% confidence interval (CI): 2·0–33·0] and 25·0 (95% CI: 12·0–45·0) months respectively. Median PFS for previously untreated MCL was 84·0 months; OS could not be estimated. Toxicities were primarily haematological.
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