Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton
Southampton Clinical Trials UnitNews

First UK patient enters trial for rare lymphoma of the brain

Published: 25 May 2023
CT Scan

The first UK patient has entered an international trial which aims to improve outcomes for people with a rare form of lymphoma that affects the brain.

The Cancer Research UK funded OptiMATe trial is investigating whether changing the way the current standard treatment is given to patients could improve outcomes and see more patients living disease-free.

The trial is currently open at five hospitals across the UK and the first patient has been recruited at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.


Improving current treatment

Primary central nervous system lymphoma (PCNSL) is a type of blood cancer that affects the brain and can be a difficult cancer to treat.

A previous trial found that a treatment called MATRix, which is a combination of chemotherapy drugs and an immunotherapy treatment called rituximab, followed by a stem cell transplant, could lead to long-term survival for around 70% of people with PCNSL. This trial led to a change in the standard of care for this disease in the UK and much of Europe.

However, in around a third of patients this treatment is not successful.

“Despite huge advances in treatments for patients with PCNSL in the last few years, there are still many patients whose lymphoma does not respond to, or returns following, current treatment approaches,” says Professor Chris Fox, Consultant Haematologist at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. “We therefore need to look at new ways to improve the treatments we can offer these patients.”

The OptiMATe trial is an international collaboration which is investigating whether MATRix can be optimised by changes to the timings and intensity of how the different drugs are given.

The trial is being led in the UK by Professor Fox and run by the Southampton Clinical Trials Unit (SCTU).


Tackling a rare cancer

Chris Wignall, Trial Manager for OptiMATe at the SCTU, said: “With rare cancers such as primary CNS lymphoma, there are often not many patients seen with the condition each year in any individual country. Therefore, an international collaboration like OptiMATe means we can recruit patients from several countries at once, providing enough data to see whether this change to the MATRix treatment regimen is successful.”

Professor Fox concludes: “We hope that the OptiMATe trial will be able to provide evidence that this new and optimised treatment strategy can provide an alternative treatment pathway leading to improved survival for patients.”


OptiMATe is led by a research team in Germany where the trial is also already running, while further sites in Italy and Austria due to open this year. A total of 16 UK hospitals will eventually open the trial to patients here in the UK.

The UK arm of the trial is funded by just over £1m from Cancer Research UK’s Stand Up To Cancer campaign and is sponsored by Klinikum Stuttgart.



Privacy Settings