Objective. To compare the efficacy of brentuximab vedotin, doxorubicin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (A+AVD) with that of doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) in patients with stage III or IV classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Design. The ECHELON-1 trial, an international, openlabel, randomized phase 3 trial.
Setting and participants. In this multicenter international trial, a total of 1334 patients underwent randomization from November 2012 through January
2016. Eligible patients were 18 years of age older and had newly diagnosed and histologically proven classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Ann Arbor stage III or IV. Patients were eligible only if they had not received prior systemic chemotherapy or radiotherapy. All patients were required to have an ECOG performance status of ≤ 2 and adequate hematologic parameters (hemoglobin ≥ 8, ANC ≥ 1500, and platelet count ≥ 75,000). Patients with nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin’s lymphoma, pre-existing peripheral sensory neuropathy, or known cerebral or meningeal disease were excluded.
Intervention. Patients were randomized in a 1:1 fashion to receive A+AVD (brentuximab vedotin 1.2 mg/kg, doxorubicin 25 mg/m2, vinblastine 6 mg/m2 and dacarbazine 375 mg/m2) or ABVD (doxorubicin 25 mg/m2, bleomycin 10 units/m2, vinblastine 6 mg/m2 and dacarbazine 375 mg/m2) IV on days 1 and 15 of each 28-day cycle for up to 6 cycles. A PET scan was done at the end of the second cycle (PET2) and if this showed increased uptake at any site or uptake at a new site of disease (Deauville score 5) patients could be switched to an alternative frontline therapy at the treating physician’s discretion.
Main outcome measures . The primary endpoint of this study was modified progression-free survival (mPFS), defined as time to disease progression, death, or modified progression (noncomplete response after completion of frontline therapy—Deauville score 3, 4, or 5 on PET). Modified progression was incorporated as an endpoint in order to assess the effectiveness of frontline therapy. A secondary endpoint of the study was overall survival (OS).
Results. The baseline characteristics were well balanced between the treatment arms. 58% of the patients were male and 64% had stage IV disease. The median age was 36 years and 9% in each group were over the age of 65. After a median follow-up of 24.9 months, the independently assessed 2-year mPFS was 82.1% and 77.2% in the A+AVD and ABVD groups, respectively (hazard ratio [HR] 0.77; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.6–0.98). The 2-year mPFS rate according to investigator assessment was 81% and 74.4% in the A+AVD and ABVD groups, respectively. Modified progression (failure to achieve a complete response after completion of frontline therapy resulting in treatment with subsequent therapy) occurred in 9 and 22 patients in the
A+AVD and ABVD groups, respectively. A pre-specified subgroup analysis showed that patients from North America, male patients, patients with involvement of more than 1 extranodal site, patients with a high IPSS score (4–7), patients < 60 years old and those with stage IV disease appeared to benefit more from A+AVD. The rate of PET2 negativity was 89% with A+AVD and 86% with ABVD. The 2-year overall survival was 96.6% in the A+AVD group and 94.9% in the ABVD group (HR 0.72; 95% CI 0.44–1.17). Fewer patients in the A+AVD group received subsequent cancer-directed therapy.