From the Journals

ECHELON-1 update: A+AVD bests ABVD in Hodgkin lymphoma



Brentuximab vedotin plus doxorubicin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (A+AVD) provides “robust, sustained efficacy” in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma, according to investigators.

In the ECHELON-1 trial, investigators compared A+AVD to doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) as frontline treatment for stage III or IV Hodgkin lymphoma. The 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) was superior in patients who received A+AVD, and this benefit was seen across most subgroups.

David J. Straus, MD, of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and his colleagues detailed these findings in Blood.

The phase 3 trial (NCT01712490) enrolled 1,334 patients with stage III or IV classical Hodgkin lymphoma. They were randomized to receive A+AVD (n = 664) or ABVD (n = 670). Baseline characteristics were similar between the treatment arms.

Positron emission tomography status after cycle 2 (PET2) was similar between the treatment arms as well. Most patients – 89% of the A+AVD arm and 86% of the ABVD arm – were PET2 negative. Treating physicians used PET2 status as a guide to potentially switch patients to an alternative regimen (radiotherapy or chemotherapy with or without transplant).

In a prior analysis, the study’s primary endpoint was modified PFS (time to progression, death, or noncomplete response after frontline therapy) per an independent review committee (N Engl J Med. 2018;378:331-44). The 2-year modified PFS rate was 82.1% in the A+AVD arm and 77.2% in the ABVD arm (hazard ratio, 0.77; P = .04).

PFS update

In the current analysis, the main exploratory endpoint was PFS per investigator. The 3-year PFS rate was significantly higher in the A+AVD arm than in the ABVD arm – 83.1% and 76.0%, respectively (HR, 0.704; P = .005).

The investigators observed a “consistent improvement in PFS” in the A+AVD arm, regardless of disease stage, International Prognostic score, Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group status, sex, or age. There was a significant improvement in PFS with A+AVD in PET2-negative patients and a trend toward improvement in PET2-positive patients. In the PET2-negative patients, the 3-year PFS was 85.8% in the A+AVD arm and 79.5% in the ABVD arm (HR, 0.69; P = .009). In PET2-positive patients, the 3-year PFS was 67.7% and 51.5%, respectively (HR, 0.59; P = .077).

“These data highlight that A+AVD provides a durable efficacy benefit, compared with ABVD, for frontline stage III/IV cHL [classical Hodgkin lymphoma], which is consistent across key subgroups regardless of patient status at PET2,” Dr. Straus and his colleagues wrote.

Safety update

In both treatment arms, peripheral neuropathy continued to improve or resolve with longer follow-up. Among patients who developed peripheral neuropathy, 78% in the A+AVD arm and 83% in the ABVD arm had improvement or resolution of the condition at 3 years.

Most patients had complete resolution of peripheral neuropathy; 62% in the A+AVD arm and 73% in the ABVD arm. The median time to complete resolution was 28 weeks (range, 0-167 weeks) after stopping A+AVD and 14 weeks (range, 0-188 weeks) after stopping ABVD.

The incidence of secondary malignancies was similar between the treatment arms. There were 14 secondary malignancies in the A+AVD arm (6 solid tumors, 8 hematologic malignancies) and 20 in the ABVD arm (9 solid tumors, 11 hematologic malignancies).

“A+AVD provided a sustained PFS benefit with a predictable and manageable safety profile,” Dr. Straus and colleagues wrote. “These data further support the advantages of A+AVD versus ABVD as frontline treatment of patients with advanced stage III or IV cHL [classical Hodgkin lymphoma].”

The ECHELON-1 trial was sponsored by Millennium Pharmaceuticals (a subsidiary of Takeda) and Seattle Genetics. The investigators disclosed relationships with Millennium, Takeda, Seattle Genetics, and a range of other companies.

SOURCE: Straus DJ et al. Blood. 2020 Jan 16. pii: blood.2019003127. doi: 10.1182/blood.2019003127.

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