In a nutshell
This study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) plus gemcitabine (Gemzar) in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory (does not respond to treatment) Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL). This study concluded that this combination is safe and shows promising effectiveness in these patients.
Patients with HL who experience an early relapse or develop refractory disease tend to have a poor prognosis. Second-line chemotherapy regimens are effective. However, these treatments are associated with significant side effects and long-term complications, like secondary cancers.
Brentuximab vedotin is a monoclonal antibody. This type of treatment binds to cancer cells, leading to cancer cell death. Gemcitabine is a chemotherapy agent. Previous studies have shown that these agents are effective alone in adults with relapsed or refractory HL. Whether combining them is also safe and effective in children and young adult patients remains under investigation.
Methods & findings
This study involved 46 patients with relapsed or refractory HL. Patients received brentuximab vedotin plus gemcitabine. Patients were followed-up for an average of 15 months.
Overall, 74% of the 42 patients evaluated responded to treatment. 67% of patients had a disappearance of all signs of cancer (complete response). At follow-up, 12% of patients had disease progression (tumor growth or spread).
For all patients, one-year overall survival (patients still alive 1 year later) was 95%. At follow-up, 75% of patients stopped treatment to undergo a stem cell transplant.
Severe to life-threatening side effects were reported. The most common of these included low white blood cell count, skin rash, and high levels of liver enzymes (may indicate liver damage). Severely itchy skin and low blood pressure were also reported.
The bottom line
This study concluded that brentuximab vedotin plus gemcitabine is safe and shows promising effectiveness in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory HL.
The fine print
This study was a Phase 1 – 2 study. Further research is needed to determine the role of brentuximab vedotin plus gemcitabine in children and young adults with relapsed or refractory HL.
Published By :
The Lancet. Oncology
Aug 16, 2018
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