ALLG Launches New Trial for Mantle Cell Lymphoma


The ALLG NHL33 clinical trial launched this week at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne. The trial aims to improve treatment for people with newly diagnosed mantle cell lymphoma (MCL).

Chief Investigator Associate Professor Eliza Hawkes from the Austin Hospital and Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness & Research Centre (ONJRC) in Melbourne is leading the trial, which is planned to open at between 15 and 20 sites across Australia and recruit 44 patients over three years. Dr Allison Barraclough, also from the Austin Hospital and ONJRC, the lead research fellow involved in NHL33, and has been instrumental in launching this important trial.

Importantly, the trial will incorporate a tele-trials model with two remote sites under the lead tele-trials site of Townsville Hospital.

The trial is testing a new treatment for treatment-naïve MCL called acalabrutinib when added to the standard treatments for this condition, which include combination chemotherapy and autologous stem cell transplantation. This trial is looking specifically at the impact of adding acalabrutinib oral capsules in the induction and maintenance phases of standard treatments on stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.

Current standard therapies for MCL include rituximab, R-DHAOx and BEAM autologous stem cell transplant. Acalabrutinib is currently approved for patients with MCL who have received at least one prior treatment/therapy. The ALLG NHL33 trial will help determine whether acalabrutinib is a suitable first-line therapy for MCL.

Caption: A/Prof Eliza Hawkes is leading the Australia-wide ALLG NHL33 clinical trial.

A/Prof Hawkes said, “I’m pleased to be contributing to the global efforts to improve outcomes in this rare disease and I’m really excited to be working with my colleagues at rural and remote centres on this novel Telehealth model so we can reach Australian Haematology patients who usually face travelling impossible distances to participate in a clinical trial. Acalabrutinib works really well in relapsed MCL patients but we can now offer eligible Australian patients with previously untreated MCL the opportunity to receive this therapy, as well as maintenance rituximab, a global standard of care not currently funded in Australia.

Caption: Lead Research Fellow on ALLG NHL33 clinical trial, Dr Allison Barraclough.

Dr Barraclough added, “This is an incredibly innovative study design, which gives patients access to novel, new therapies without compromising on the efficacy of proven treatments. We are thrilled to be able to offer patients rituximab in the maintenance phase of the study for which an improved overall survival benefit has been demonstrated in MCL.”

We appreciate the work of the team at the Austin Hospital Clinical Trials Centre, who will work with A/Prof Hawkes and Dr Barraclough to support recruitment and management of the ALLG NHL33 trial over the next several years. Special thanks to Sze Ting Lee (PET Lead), Wendi Lin (Scientific Officer) and Joanne Hawking (Clinical Trial Team Leader) who have worked diligently in setting up NHL33. The wider Austin CTC team includes Jean Cameron, Kristen Houdyk, Alicia Davies, Deanna Davidson, Caitlin Hull, Chloe Ristevski, Kelly Ross (Nurse Coordinators); Jaclyn Bartlett, Tania Timotic (Research Assistants); and Dr Kate Manos (Research Fellow/Investigator).

Caption: Jaclyn Bartlett and Jo Hawking from the Austin Clinical Trials Centre.

The ALLG thanks AstraZeneca and Sandoz for their support of ALLG NHL33.

About Mantle Cell Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, particularly the lymph nodes. The lymphatic system helps to fight infections and disease. Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a relatively uncommon type of lymphoma affecting approximately 5-10% of all non-Hodgkin lymphoma patients. This type of Lymphoma develops when the body makes abnormal B-cells, which are white blood cells that fight infection. The lymphoma cells grow uncontrollably in lymph nodes, making them bigger. The disease is called “mantle cell lymphoma” because the tumour cells originate in the “mantle zone” or outer ring of the lymph node.
Development of more effective treatments for MCL has improved in recent years. However, despite this, a better understanding of how to treat this form of lymphoma is important to ensure patient outcomes can continue to be improved.

About the Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG)
The Australasian Leukaemia & Lymphoma Group (ALLG) is a not-for-profit clinical trial organisation that sponsors local investigator-initiated clinical trials. The ALLG membership of over 400 clinicians is made up of almost all of the haematologists treating leukaemia and lymphoma across Australia and New Zealand. The ALLG plans, designs, conducts, monitors and publishes clinical trials across the entire spectrum of blood cancer including chronic myeloid leukaemia.

Participation in the ALLG NHL33 Trial
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with mantle cell lymphoma, please contact the treating physician to understand more about the ALLG NHL33 trial.

ALLG Members: For more information on the Phase II, multi-centre, single-arm ALLG NHL33 WAMM trial (“An ALLG Window study of Acalabrutinib plus Rituximab followed by R-DHAOx + ASCT in fit Mantle Cell Lymphoma”), please visit and select the “Lymphoma” tab under “Clinical Trials in Progress”.

Caption: Several of the Austin Clinical Trials Team members smile behind their masks (from Left to Right): Deanna Davidson, Caitlin Hull, Chloe Ristevski, Kelly Ross, Tania Timotic and Dr Kate Manos.