A trial looking at a new treatment plan for people with rare types of T cell lymphoma (ITCL)

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
High grade lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 2

This trial looked at a new treatment plan for people with aggressive T cell lymphoma. This is a rare type of Non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) which is a cancer of the immune system Open a glossary item. This trial was supported by Cancer Research UK. 

More about this trial

People with rare types of non Hodgkin lymphoma, are usually treated with a combination of chemotherapy and steroids.  As with many treatments, doctors are looking for ways to improve on this. 

Researchers have been looking at whether outcomes can be improved by using more aggressive chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant. Although the numbers of people treated in this way so far have been small, the results are encouraging. So they wanted to see if using this treatment as soon as the lymphoma is diagnosed can help a larger number of people. Through this trial, the research team hoped to

  • See if this treatment plan will in future be used nationally for people with these sub types of aggressive T cell lymphoma

Summary of results

The trial team confirmed that giving high dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant is a useful treatment for people with rare types of T-cell non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). 

22 people took part in the trial, 15 men and 7 women. Treatment included

  • 1 cycle of CHOP chemotherapy 
  • 3 cycles of epirubicin , etoposide and ifosfamide (IVE chemotherapy),alternately with 3 cycles of methotrexate chemotherapy
  • Stem cell collection
  • 1 cycle of BEAM chemotherapy
  • A stem cell transplant  

Only 14 people went on to have a stem cell transplant

  • 3 people withdrew from the trial
  • 1 person withdrew from the trial and died
  • 2 other people died 
  • For 2 people there were not enough stem cells to have a transplant 

The main side effects from treatment were

  • Low red and white blood cells leading to tiredness, breathlessness and an increased risk of infection
  • Diarrhoea
  • High temperature (fever) and low white blood cells (febrile neutropenia)
  • Infection 

5 people had their dose reduced or missed a dose during the IVE or methotrexate chemotherapy due to side effects. 

1 year after treatment

  • 11 people had no signs of their lymphoma 
  • 5 people had a reduced amount of lymphoma (a partial response Open a glossary item
  • 2 people’s lymphoma had got worse (progressive disease)
  • 4 people did not have their lymphoma assessed

The trial team concluded that high dose chemotherapy and stem cell transplant leads to a good outcome for people with rare types of T-cell NHL. They plan to publish more results from this trial in the future. But they also stated that more clinical trials are needed for this group of people and changes to the way trials are organised may be needed to encourage clinical centres to take part in research. 

We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) but may not have been published in a medical journal. The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Dr Anne Lennard

Supported by

Cancer Research UK 
Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University College London


Cancer Research UK trial number

This is Cancer Research UK trial number CRUK/04/023.

Questions about cancer? Contact our information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:

Oracle 422

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Charlie took part in a trial to try new treatments

A picture of Charlie

“I think it’s really important that people keep signing up to these type of trials to push research forward.”

Last reviewed:

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