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      Optimizing outcomes in relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma: a review of current and forthcoming therapeutic strategies

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          Abstract

          The outcome of patients with relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (rr-cHL) has improved considerably in recent years owing to the approval of highly active novel agents such as brentuximab vedotin and Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) inhibitors. Although no randomized trials have been conducted to provide formal proof, it is almost undisputable that the survival of these patients has been prolonged. As autologous stem-cell transplantation (SCT) remains the standard of care for second-line therapy of most patients with rr-cHL, optimization of second-line regimens with the use of brentuximab vedotin, or, in the future, checkpoint inhibitors, is promising to increase both the eligibility rate for transplant and the final outcome. The need for subsequent therapy, and especially allogeneic SCT, can be reduced with brentuximab vedotin consolidation for 1 year, while pembrolizumab is also being tested in this setting. Several other drug categories appear to be active in rr-cHL, but their development has been delayed by the appearance of brentuximab vedotin, nivolumab and pembrolizumab, which have dominated the field of rr-cHL treatment in the last 5 years. Combinations of active drugs in chemo-free approaches may further increase efficacy and hopefully reduce toxicity in rr-cHL, but are still under development.

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          Most cited references 181

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          Report of an international workshop to standardize response criteria for non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. NCI Sponsored International Working Group.

          Standardized guidelines for response assessment are needed to ensure comparability among clinical trials in non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (NHL). To achieve this, two meetings were convened among United States and international lymphoma experts representing medical hematology/oncology, radiology, radiation oncology, and pathology to review currently used response definitions and to develop a uniform set of criteria for assessing response in clinical trials. The criteria that were developed include anatomic definitions of response, with normal lymph node size after treatment of 1.5 cm in the longest transverse diameter by computer-assisted tomography scan. A designation of complete response/unconfirmed was adopted to include patients with a greater than 75% reduction in tumor size after therapy but with a residual mass, to include patients-especially those with large-cell NHL-who may not have residual disease. Single-photon emission computed tomography gallium scans are encouraged as a valuable adjunct to assessment of patients with large-cell NHL, but such scans require appropriate expertise. Flow cytometric, cytogenetic, and molecular studies are not currently included in response definitions. Response rates may be the most important objective in phase II trials where the activity of a new agent is important and may provide support for approval by regulatory agencies. However, the goals of most phase III trials are to identify therapies that will prolong the progression-free survival, if not the overall survival, of the treated patients. We hope that these guidelines will serve to improve communication among investigators and comparability among clinical trials until clinically relevant laboratory and imaging studies are identified and become more widely available.
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            Nivolumab for classical Hodgkin lymphoma after autologous stem-cell transplantation and brentuximab vedotin failure: a prospective phase 2 multi-cohort study

            Background Malignant cells of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) are characterised by genetic alterations at the 9p24·1 locus. This leads to overexpression of the programmed death 1 (PD-1) ligands and enables tumour cells to evade immune surveillance. A phase 1b study showed that nivolumab, a PD-1-blocking antibody, produced a high response rate in patients with relapsed and refractory cHL, with an acceptable safety profile. This phase 2 study assessed the clinical benefit of nivolumab monotherapy in patients with cHL after autologous stem-cell transplantation and brentuximab vedotin failure. Methods This ongoing phase 2 study (NCT02181738) assessed the efficacy and safety of nivolumab, administered intravenously over 60 minutes at 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks, in adult patients with cHL who had failed both autologous stem-cell transplantation and brentuximab vedotin. The primary endpoint was objective response rate by independent radiologic review committee (IRRC) assessment. Secondary and other endpoints included duration of response, safety, and assessment of PD-L1 and PD-L2 loci and PD-L1 and PD-L2 protein expression. Findings Among 80 treated patients, the median number of prior therapies was four (range 3–15). With a mean (SD) follow-up of 8·6 months (2·02), objective response rate per IRRC was 66·3% (53/80). The most common drug-related adverse events (≥15%) included fatigue, infusion-related reaction, and rash. The most common drug-related grade 3–4 adverse events were neutropenia and increased lipase levels (both n=4). The most common serious adverse event (any grade) was pyrexia (n=3). Interpretation Nivolumab demonstrated a high response rate and an acceptable safety profile in patients with cHL who progressed following autologous stem-cell transplantation and brentuximab vedotin. Nivolumab may therefore provide a novel treatment option for a patient population with a high unmet need. Ongoing follow-up will help to assess the durability of response. Funding Bristol-Myers Squibb.
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              Use of positron emission tomography for response assessment of lymphoma: consensus of the Imaging Subcommittee of International Harmonization Project in Lymphoma.

              To develop guidelines for performing and interpreting positron emission tomography (PET) imaging for treatment assessment in patients with lymphoma both in clinical practice and in clinical trials. An International Harmonization Project (IHP) was convened to discuss standardization of clinical trial parameters in lymphoma. An imaging subcommittee developed consensus recommendations based on published PET literature and the collective expertise of its members in the use of PET in lymphoma. Only recommendations subsequently endorsed by all IHP subcommittees were adopted. PET after completion of therapy should be performed at least 3 weeks, and preferably at 6 to 8 weeks, after chemotherapy or chemoimmunotherapy, and 8 to 12 weeks after radiation or chemoradiotherapy. Visual assessment alone is adequate for interpreting PET findings as positive or negative when assessing response after completion of therapy. Mediastinal blood pool activity is recommended as the reference background activity to define PET positivity for a residual mass > or = 2 cm in greatest transverse diameter, regardless of its location. A smaller residual mass or a normal sized lymph node (ie, < or = 1 x 1 cm in diameter) should be considered positive if its activity is above that of the surrounding background. Specific criteria for defining PET positivity in the liver, spleen, lung, and bone marrow are also proposed. Use of attenuation-corrected PET is strongly encouraged. Use of PET for treatment monitoring during a course of therapy should only be done in a clinical trial or as part of a prospective registry.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Journal
                Ther Adv Hematol
                Ther Adv Hematol
                TAH
                sptah
                Therapeutic Advances in Hematology
                SAGE Publications (Sage UK: London, England )
                2040-6207
                2040-6215
                16 February 2020
                2020
                : 11
                Affiliations
                Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, School of Medicine, Laikon General Hospital, 17 Ag. Thoma Str., Goudi, Athens, 11527, Greece
                Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Laikon General Hospital, Athens, Greece
                Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Laikon General Hospital, Athens, Greece
                Department of Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplantation, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Laikon General Hospital, Athens, Greece
                Author notes
                Article
                10.1177_2040620720902911
                10.1177/2040620720902911
                7026824
                3f366eac-2e8f-4001-9d32-c1375e1bd972
                © The Author(s), 2020

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

                Categories
                Review
                Custom metadata
                January-December 2020
                ts1

                Hematology

                brentuximab vedotin, hodgkin lymphoma, nivolumab, pembrolizumab, pet, pet/ct, refractory, relapsed

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