Among patients with relapsed or refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), combining brentuximab vedotin (BV) and nivolumab appears to yield promising progression-free survival (PFS) rates, according to research published in Blood.

Up to 30% of patients with cHL do not respond to or relapse after standard therapies. While many of these patients still proceed to successful transplantation, identifying novel treatment strategies that yield high pre-transplant response rates is critical in this population.

BV, a CD30-targeting antibody, has previously yielded a promising objective response rate (ORR) in a population of patients with relapsed or refractory cHL. When paired with nivolumab—a checkpoint inhibitor targeting PD-1—in a previous phase 1/2 study, an interim analysis suggested an ORR and complete response (CR) rate of 82% and 61%, respectively. In the present paper, researchers reported 3-year follow-up results from the phase 1/2 study.

Continue Reading

Overall, 91 patients were enrolled and included in the trial. The median age was 34 years (range, 18-69), 44% of patients were male sex, 57% of patients were diagnosed with stage II disease, 90% of patients had received a prior adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine combination, and 57% of patients had had a previous CR.

The median follow-up was 34.3 months. The ORR was 85%, 67% of patients had a CR, and the estimated 3-year PFS rate was 77%. For patients who underwent autologous stem cell transplantation after treatment, the estimated 3-year PFS rate was 91%. The 3-year OS rate was 93%.

Responders were, furthermore, more likely to have higher CD30 expression than were nonresponders.

Prior to transplantation, the most common grade 1-2 adverse events were nausea (52%) and infusion-related reaction (43%). A total of 18% of patients had an immune-related event that led to use of corticosteroids.

“These data continue to support the promise of combining BV and [nivolumab] as a salvage regimen that is highly active and well tolerated and may potentially offer an alternative to chemotherapy-based salvage in patients with [relapsed/refractory] cHL,” the authors wrote.

Disclosure: The study author(s) declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of authors’ disclosures. 


Advani R, Moskowitz AJ, Bartlett NL, et al. Brentuximab vedotin in combination with nivolumab in relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma: 3-year study results. Blood. Published online April 7, 2021. doi:10.1182/blood.2020009178