In a nutshell
This study compared the health-related quality of life (HR-QoL) outcomes between pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and brentuximab vedotin (BV; Adcetris) in patients with relapsed or refractory (r/r) classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). The data showed that the pembrolizumab improved the HR-QoL outcomes compared to BV in these patients.
A number of patients with cHL experience relapse (worsening of the disease) or are refractory (not responsive) to standard treatments. Immunotherapies have improved the outcomes of these patients.
BV is an immune therapy used for the treatment of r/r cHL. BV is an antibody-drug conjugate. It combines an immune protein with an anti-cancer drug. Pembrolizumab is an immune checkpoint inhibitor that prevents the immune system from switching off. This allows the immune system to target and kill cancer cells.
A previous study has shown that pembrolizumab improved the survival without cancer worsening of patients with r/r cHL after autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) compared to BV. However, the HR-QOL outcomes between pembrolizumab and BV in these patients are unknown.
Methods & findings
This study involved 296 patients with r/r cHL. 146 patients received pembrolizumab. 150 patients received BV. The quality of life related to the patients' health was measured by patient questionnaires. The questionnaires measured the physical functioning, emotional functioning, fatigue, and pain of the patients.
At the beginning of the study, both groups had similar quality of life scores. The pembrolizumab group reported improved HR-QoL scores after 24 weeks in every domain except cognitive (mental and reasoning) functioning. However, in the BV group, HR-QoL scores worsened after 24 weeks in each domain except emotional and social functioning.
The time it took for patients to experience a worsening in their HR-QoL scores was 60% longer with pembrolizumab compared to BV.
The bottom line
This study concluded that pembrolizumab improved the HR-QoL outcomes compared to BV in patients with r/r cHL. The authors suggest that pembrolizumab should be considered the preferred treatment option for these patients after ASCT or in those patients who cannot undergo a stem cell transplant.
The fine print
This study was funded by Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp, the manufacturers of pembrolizumab.
Published By :
Oct 14, 2021
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