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A phase II study of dacetuzumab (SGN-40) in patients with relapsed diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and correlative analyses of patient-specific factors

Sven de Vos1*, Andres Forero-Torres2, Stephen M Ansell3, Brad Kahl4, Bruce D Cheson5, Nancy L Bartlett6, Richard R Furman7, Jane N Winter8, Henry Kaplan9, John Timmerman1, Nancy C Whiting10, Jonathan G Drachman10 and Ranjana Advani11

Author Affiliations

1 David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California Los Angeles, 650 Charles E. Young Drive 11-934 Factor Bldg, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1678, USA

2 University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL, USA

3 Mayo Clinic Rochester, Rochester, MN, USA

4 University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

5 Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, DC, USA

6 Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO, USA

7 Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, NY, USA

8 Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA

9 Swedish Cancer Institute, Seattle, WA, USA

10 Seattle Genetics, Inc, Bothell, WA, USA

11 Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA, USA

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Journal of Hematology & Oncology 2014, 7:44  doi:10.1186/1756-8722-7-44

Published: 12 June 2014



Patients with DLBCL who are ineligible for or have relapsed after aggressive salvage chemotherapy have a poor prognosis. CD40 is expressed on multiple B-cell neoplasms including DLBCL and is a potential target for immunotherapy. Dacetuzumab (SGN-40), a non-blocking, partial agonist, humanized IgG1, anti-CD40 monoclonal antibody, has previously demonstrated anti-lymphoma activity in a phase I study.


A phase II study was undertaken to evaluate the rate and duration of objective responses and safety of single-agent dacetuzumab in relapsed DLBCL. Forty-six adult patients with relapsed/refractory DLBCL received up to 12 cycles of intravenous dacetuzumab using intrapatient dose-escalation to a target dose of 8 mg/kg/week in an initial 5-week cycle, followed by 4-week cycles of 8 mg/kg/week. Study endpoints included rate and duration of objective responses, safety, survival, pharmacokinetics, immunogenicity, and exploratory correlative studies.


Overall response rate was 9% and disease control rate (complete remission + partial remission + stable disease) was 37%. Common non-hematologic adverse events (AEs) included fatigue, headache, chills, fever, and nausea. The most frequent Grade 3–4 non-hematologic AE was deep venous thrombosis (3 patients). Grade 3–4 lymphopenia (41%), neutropenia (13%), or thrombocytopenia (19%) occurred without associated infection or bleeding. Reversible ocular events, including conjunctivitis and ocular hyperemia, occurred in 8 patients (17%). Patient-specific factors, including Fc-gamma-RIIIa polymorphism, did not appear to correlate with antitumor activity.


Single-agent dacetuzumab has modest activity and manageable toxicity in unselected patients with relapsed DLBCL. Combination regimens and robust methods of patient selection may be necessary for further development.

Trial registration identifier NCT00435916.

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma; DLBCL; Dacetuzumab; CD40