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Study: Brentuximab May Be Curative in Some Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Patients

Immunotherapy targets CD30 proteins

Five-year survival data published online in Blood, the journal of the American Society of Hematology, suggest that the targeted therapy brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris, Seattle Genetics) may have cured some Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients whose disease had persisted despite previous therapies.

A multinational phase 2 trial examined brentuximab in patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who had relapsed after stem cell transplant. The study found that 13 of 34 patients (38%) who achieved complete remission have remained disease-free for more than five years and may be cured. Of those patients, nine received only single-agent brentuximab.

This is the first study to demonstrate long-term success with brentuximab in Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients who had exhausted all other treatment options.

Brentuximab vedotin is an immunotherapy that targets CD30, a protein on the surface of some Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells, and delivers a dose of chemotherapy to destroy the cell. The treatment is approved by the FDA for patients with relapsed or treatment-resistant Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it is commonly prescribed to patients whose disease has progressed after autologous stem cell transplant.

In the new study, 102 patients with CD30-positive Hodgkin’s lymphoma were given one dose (1.8 mg/kg) of brentuximab through outpatient intravenous infusion every three weeks for up to 16 cycles. Before starting the trial, all of the patients had failed to achieve remission on a median of 3.5 therapies, including stem cell transplant, which, prior to the approval of brentuximab, was the only potentially curative treatment for those who failed standard chemotherapy. Researchers monitored patients from their initial response (either complete or partial reduction of the tumor) until disease progression or death and continued the study for approximately five years after final treatment.

At five years, 34 of the 102 patients had achieved a complete response (disappearance of their cancer for a period of time), with an estimated 64% of patients surviving with or without disease (median five-year overall survival: 40.5 months) and an estimated 52% surviving without disease progression. Of these 34 patients, 13 (38%) have remained in remission for five years, and an additional two patients whose disease did not progress after brentuximab treatment went on to achieve remission after receiving allogeneic stem cell transplant. These two patients also remained in remission five years later.

Source: ASH; July 18, 2016.

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