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This article is the author’s final published version in Blood Advances, Volume 7, Issue 20, October 2023, Pages 6339–6350.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2023 by The American Society of Hematology.


Lymphomas are not infrequently associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and EBV positivity is linked to worse outcomes in several subtypes. Nanatinostat is a class-I selective oral histone deacetylase inhibitor that induces the expression of lytic EBV BGLF4 protein kinase in EBV+ tumor cells, activating ganciclovir via phosphorylation, resulting in tumor cell apoptosis. This phase 1b/2 study investigated the combination of nanatinostat with valganciclovir in patients aged ≥18 years with EBV+ lymphomas relapsed/refractory to ≥1 prior systemic therapy with no viable curative treatment options. In the phase 1b part, 25 patients were enrolled into 5 dose escalation cohorts to determine the recommended phase 2 dose (RP2D) for phase 2 expansion. Phase 2 patients (n = 30) received RP2D (nanatinostat 20 mg daily, 4 days per week with valganciclovir 900 mg orally daily) for 28-day cycles. The primary end points were safety, RP2D determination (phase 1b), and overall response rate (ORR; phase 2). Overall, 55 patients were enrolled (B-non-Hodgkin lymphoma [B-NHL], [n = 10]; angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma-NHL, [n = 21]; classical Hodgkin lymphoma, [n = 11]; and immunodeficiency-associated lymphoproliferative disorders, [n = 13]). The ORR was 40% in 43 evaluable patients (complete response rate [CRR], 19% [n = 8]) with a median duration of response of 10.4 months. For angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma-NHL (n = 15; all refractory to the last prior therapy), the ORR/CRR ratio was 60%/27%. The most common adverse events were nausea (38% any grade) and cytopenia (grade 3/4 neutropenia [29%], thrombocytopenia [20%], and anemia [20%]). This novel oral regimen provided encouraging efficacy across several EBV+ lymphoma subtypes and warrants further evaluation; a confirmatory phase 2 study (NCT05011058) is underway. This phase 1b/2 study is registered at as #NCT03397706.

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