A trial of avelumab for peripheral T cell lymphoma (AVAIL-T)

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
High grade lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 2

This trial looked at avelumab for peripheral T cell lymphoma that had come back or where treatment had stopped working.

The trial was open for people to join between 2017 and 2019. The team presented the results at a conference in 2020.

More about this trial

Peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL) is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) that affects blood cells called T cells.
Chemotherapy is often used to treat PTCL. But sometimes it continues to grow or comes back after treatment. 

Researchers wanted to see how well a drug called avelumab works. Avelumab is a type of immunotherapy. It stimulates the body’s immune system to recognise and kill cancer cells.
The main aims of the trial were to find out:

  • how well avelumab works
  • more about the side effects    

Summary of results

The research team found that avelumab was not a useful treatment for peripheral T cell lymphoma (PTCL).

Trial design
This trial was for people with PTCL that had come back or got worse despite at least 1 other treatment. 

Everyone taking part had avelumab. They had treatment for as long as it was working and they weren’t having serious side effects. They were due to have scans at 3, 6 and 8 months to see how well the treatment was working.

A total of 32 people had treatment as part of this trial. Of those, 16 people stopped treatment before the first scan at 3 months. The most common reason was that they were too poorly because their lymphoma had got worse. 

The research team looked at how well the treatment had worked in the other 16 people. They found it had:

  • got a bit better in 5 people
  • stayed the same in 4 people
  • got worse in 7 people

When they looked at how long it was before people’s lymphoma started to get worse, they found it was about 3 months. They also looked at how long people lived and found it was about 9 months. 

This is about the same as you would expect with other treatments.

Side effects
Most people taking part had at least 1 side effect. Some were mild or didn’t last long. But 16 people had a side effect that was more severe. The most common side effects were infection and fever.

We have more information about the side effects of avelumab in our Cancer drugs section.

The research team concluded that avelumab does not appear to be a useful treatment for peripheral T cell lymphoma that has come back or got worse after other treatment. 

Even when a trial shows a treatment isn’t useful for a particular cancer, it adds to our knowledge and understanding of cancer and how to treat it. 

The team suggest avelumab may be more useful for specific subgroups, or in combination with other treatments.

More detailed information
There is more information about this research in the links below. 

Please note, the first article listed here is not in plain English. It has been written for healthcare professionals and researchers.

AVAIL-T: A Phase 2a Trial of Avelumab, and Anti-PD-L1 Antibody, in Relapsed and Refractory Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma (PTCL)
M J Ahearne and others
Blood, 2020. Volume 136, supplement 1 - abstracts from the American Society of Hematology (ASH) conference.

AVAIL-T - Avelumab in relapsed/refractory T-cell Lymphoma
NHS Health Research Authority website 
AVAIL-T Lay Summary of Study Results
Accessed April 2024.

Where this information comes from    
We have based this summary on the information in the links above. The information in the first link has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed Open a glossary item) and published in a medical journal. 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

Prof Simon Wagner

Supported by

University of Birmingham


If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


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

Last reviewed:

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