In a nutshell
This study evaluated the effectiveness of brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) plus bendamustine (Treanda) for patients with hard to treat classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). This study found that this regimen is an effective salvage therapy for these patients.
Standard first-line chemotherapy is highly effective in treating 70 – 80% of patients with cHL. Unfortunately, many patients experience relapse (cancer recurrence) or develop disease that stops responding to treatment (refractory). Salvage therapy is usually the next step. This goal of this therapy is to eliminate remaining cancer or induce a response in refractory disease.
Brentuximab vedotin is a monoclonal antibody. This type of treatment targets cancer cells, leading to cancer cell death. Bendamustine is a chemotherapy drug. The effectiveness of this combination (BVB) for patients with relapsed or refractory cHL has been evaluated in clinical trials. However, its effectiveness and safety outside of clinical trials remain under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study looked at the medical records of 47 patients with HL that came back or stopped responding to treatment. On average, patients received 2 prior lines of therapy. In this study, patients received BVB chemotherapy, followed by a stem cell transplant (SCT). Patients were followed for an average of 19 months.
Overall, 79% of patients responded to treatment. 49% of patients had no signs of cancer. Of those who responded to treatment, 67% proceeded to SCT.
At follow-up, the average amount of time patients survived without tumor growth or spread was 18 months. 72% of all patients were still alive 2 years later. Significantly more patients who had no signs of cancer after treatment were still alive 2 years later compared to patients who had tumor shrinkage (94% vs. 54%).
Patients who had SCT survived for significantly longer without tumor growth or spread compared to patients who did not have SCT (33 months vs. 7 months). Also, significantly more patients who had SCT were still alive 2 years later (85% vs. 56%).
26% of patients reported chills or fever during treatment infusion. 32% of patients had serious side effects. The most common side effects were low white blood cell count (23%) or numbness or tingling in the hands or feet (11%). 10% of patients reported stomach-related side effects. 4% of patients had infections.
The bottom line
This study found that the BVB regimen is an effective salvage therapy for patients with hard-to-treat HL. The authors suggest that this regimen may help patients proceed to SCT.
The fine print
This study had a small number of patients and looked back in time to analyze data. More studies are needed to confirm these results.
Published By :
European Journal of Haematology
Feb 27, 2020
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