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Posted by on Sep 21, 2018 in Hodgkin's lymphoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated the effectiveness and safety of brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) in patients with relapsed (cancer recurrence) or refractory (does not respond to treatment) Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL). This study concluded that brentuximab vedotin was effective and well-tolerated in these high-risk patients.

Some background

The standard treatment for patients with relapsed or refractory HL involves high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant (SCT). More than half of these patients experience relapse within the first year after treatment, while others are not good candidates for SCT. These high-risk patients have limited treatment options.

Brentuximab vedotin is a monoclonal antibody. This type of treatment binds to cancer cells, leading to cancer cell death. The effectiveness and safety of brentuximab vedotin alone in SCT-naïve (patients who have not received SCT) patients with relapsed or refractory HL remains under investigation.

Methods & findings

This study involved 60 patients with relapsed or refractory HL who were not eligible for SCT or multi-agent chemotherapy. 57% of patients had stage 3 – 4 disease. All patients received brentuximab vedotin treatment. Patients were followed-up for an average of 6.9 – 16.6 months.

Overall, 50% of patients responded to treatment. 12% of patients achieved a complete response (disappearance of all signs of cancer). 47% of patients were able to have SCT after treatment with brentuximab vedotin.

The average progression-free survival (time from treatment until the tumor grows or spreads) was 4.8 months. In these patients, brentuximab vedotin treatment was associated with a 34% improvement in PFS compared to prior therapies. The 1-year overall survival (time from treatment until death from any cause; OS) was 86%.

Overall, 87% of patients experienced side effects. Most side effects were mild to moderate. The most common included numbness or tingling in the hands or feet (35%; neuropathy), fever (18%), diarrhea (10%), and low white blood cell count (10%). 

35% of patients reported severe or life-threatening side effects. The most common included low red blood cell count (5%), low white blood cell count (5%), back pain (3.3%), and fever (3.3%). 5% of patients stopped treatment due to side effects.

The bottom line

This study concluded that brentuximab vedotin was effective and well-tolerated in patients with relapsed or refractory HL. The authors suggest that this therapy may allow these high-risk patients to undergo a stem cell transplant.

The fine print

This study received funding support from Millennium Pharmaceuticals, which is owned by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of brentuximab vedotin. Also, the patient population in this study was small. Larger studies are needed to confirm these results.

Published By :

British Journal of Haematology

Date :

Aug 30, 2018

Original Title :

Prospective study of brentuximab vedotin in relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma patients who are not suitable for stem cell transplant or multi-agent chemotherapy.

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