Matthew J. Matasar, MD, Discusses Unmet Needs in Relapsed Indolent Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

The lymphoma expert discussed how the addition of copanlisib to rituximab may add another treatment option for patients with relapsed indolent B-cell lymphomas.

Patients with indolent B-cell lymphomas tend to have disease relapses, highlighting the need for more treatment options in their armamentarium.

At the 2021 Virtual AACR Annual Meeting, Matthew J. Matasar, MD, presented data from the primary results of the phase 3 CHRONOS-3 study (NCT02367040), which demonstrated that use of the combination of copanlisib (Aliqopa) and rituximab (Rituxan) was associated with a 48% reduction in the risk of disease progression or death compared with rituximab plus placebo in patients with relapsed indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Matasar, an associate member of the Lymphoma Service in the Department of Medicine at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, discussed the unmet needs for patients with indolent B-cell lymphomas.


Indolent B-cell lymphomas are collectively a set of illnesses whose nature is to be chronically relapsing. These are illnesses that are not typically considered curative with routine systemic therapies. Most patients will typically experience multiple lines of therapy over the course of their illness. Unfortunately, we really do, as a discipline, need a greater variety of more effective and less toxic therapies to offer our patients.

For patients with relapsed indolent lymphoma whose disease has remained sensitive to rituximab (Rituxan) monotherapy, [which] remains a standard treatment, responses to it are not as frequent as we would like, and the duration of response is not as long as we would like. There remains an interest in trying to find ways to improve upon that as a standard treatment. Prior attempts of combining a PI3K inhibitor with rituximab have been unsuccessful and are largely limited by toxicities, such as enteritis , pneumonitis, and hepatitis. Our hope is that copanlisib—which unlike other previously tested agents which have been oral, clinically administered PI3K inhibitors—given intravenously might be able to overcome those challenges and prove to be a safe and effective medicine when combined with rituxumab.


Matasar MJ, Capra M, Ozcan M, et al. CHRONOS-3: randomized phase III study of copanlisib plus rituximab vs rituximab/placebo in relapsed indolent non-Hodgkin lymphoma (iNHL). Presented at: 2021 AACR Annual Meeting 2021; April 10-15, 2021; virtual. Abstract CT001.