Brentuximab improves survival in older HL patients


Photo courtesy of NIH

Doctor and patient

Older patients with untreated Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) can achieve significantly improved survival by adding brentuximab vedotin to their treatment before and after standard chemotherapy, a recent study found.

In patients with low comorbidity scores, responses were even more robust, reported lead author Andrew M. Evens, DO, of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and colleagues.

“Causes of poor outcomes for older patients with HL are not fully understood but have been attributed to a combination of factors, including presence of comorbidities, poorer performance status, disease and biological differences, inability to tolerate chemotherapy at the full dose, and increased treatment-related toxicities,” the authors wrote in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

The primary goal of the study was to improve outcomes for untreated, older patients, a group that’s historically been a difficult-to-treat patient population.

The phase 2 trial included 48 HL patients with a median age of 69 (range, 60 – 88).

All patients underwent geriatric assessment for comorbidities and loss of activities of daily living.

Treatment consisted of two doses of brentuximab followed by six cycles of doxorubicin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (AVD), then four more doses of brentuximab (consolidation doses).

The primary endpoint was complete remission at completion of AVD.

Secondary outcomes included overall response rate, 2-year progression-free survival, 2-year overall survival, and safety.

Just over half the patients (52%) completed all cycles of therapy, and almost three quarters (73%) received at least one consolidation dose of brentuximab.

Among the first 23 evaluable patients, both the complete remission rate and overall response rate were 96%. Intention-to-treat survival rates for all 48 patients were 84% for 2-year progression-free survival and 93% for 2-year overall survival.

Historical 2-year progression-free survival rates in similar older patients is poor, at 50%, so the progression-free survival rate of 84% in this study represents a significant improvement.

Of note, patients with fewer comorbidities and without loss of instrumental activities of daily living showed more robust responses.

Patients with Cumulative Illness Rating Scale for Geriatrics (CIRS-G) comorbidity scores of less than 10 had a 2-year progression-free survival rate of 100% versus 45% for those with higher scores.

Similarly, patients without loss of instrumental activities achieved a progression-free survival rate of 94% versus 25% for those who had lost some instrumental activities.

Grade 3 or 4 adverse events occurred in 42% of patients, with neutropenia being the most common (44%).

“This study represents among the best-reported outcomes to date for untreated older patients with HL,” the investigators concluded.

Seattle Genetics supported the investigator-initiated trial.

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