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Posted by on Jun 11, 2018 in Hodgkin's lymphoma | 0 comments

In a nutshell

This study investigated if pembrolizumab (Keytruda) was more effective than the standard of care in Hodgkin's lymphoma patients unresponsive to brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris). The main finding was that pembrolizumab was more effective than the standard of care in these patients

Some background

Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a cancer of the bone marrow that may affect cells of the immune system. Brentuximab vedotin (BV) is commonly used for the treatment of classical Hodgkin's lymphoma (cHL). Many cHL patients are cured by BV therapy. However, BV has no effect on some patients (refractory) and others may lose response to BV overtime (relapse). Pembrolizumab is a targeted therapy drug. This mean it can attack cancer cells without harming normal cells. Currently there are no clear guidelines for standard of care (SOC – doctor guided treatment) of patients who have relapsed and refractory (RR) cHL during or after treatment with BV. It is important to research if pembrolizumab is effective in these patients.

Methods & findings

The research compared the progression-free survival (PFS – patients who survived after 5 years with no worsening of disease) of two separate studies. One study looked at pembrolizumab and included 175 patients. The other study examined standard of care in 83 cHL patients treated with BV.

PFS was 5 times higher with the use of pembrolizumab when compared to SOC in this study.

The bottom line

The study concluded that treatment with pembrolizumab was more effective than standard of care in patients with unresponsive HL.

The fine print

This study had a small sample size which may have affected results. It also compared two separate studies which may have been carried out in different ways.

What’s next?

If you have questions regarding your treatment for classical Hodgkin lymphoma, please contact your physician.

Published By :

Expert review of Hematology

Date :

May 15, 2018

Original Title :

Pembrolizumab versus the standard of care for relapsed and refractory classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma progressing after brentuximab vedotin: an indirect treatment comparison.

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