On December 9, 2014 I wrote a brief post describing preliminary results from a phase II study of brentuximab vedotin as second-line therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma. The investigator-initiated study was performed jointly at City of Hope and Weill Cornell Medical College, highlighting a new era of collaboration between researchers working to improve the outcomes of people with lymphoma. The results of that study have now been published in the peer-reviewed journal Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
The purpose of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of brentuximab vedotin as second-line therapy in Hodgkin lymphoma (i.e., the lymphoma was not cured by first-line chemotherapy). Of the 37 study participants, almost half were able to proceed to potentially curative stem cell transplantation with brentuximab vedotin alone; i.e., no chemotherapy. Interestingly, all of the 13 patients that achieved a complete response with brentuximab vedotin did so within just 2 cycles (3 weeks).
This study suggests that brentuximab vedotin is efficacious in the second-line, pre-transplant setting, and that some patients may be spared cytotoxic chemotherapy prior to transplant. Moreover, responses seem to occur quickly in those people most likely to benefit, and there appears to be little rationale for continuing the same dose of brentuximab vedotin beyond 2 cycles in patients that have not achieved a complete response. Despite the clear activity of brentuximab vedotin in this setting, we do not advocate its use outside the context of a clinical trial until additional studies and longer follow up has been reported. Future studies will focus on combining brentuximab vedotin with other targeted agents with the intention of improving outcomes even more.
For more information about brentuximab vedotin look to this blog for further updates. If you are interested in Hodgkin lymphoma related clinical trials please visit our clinical trials listings.