Immunotoxin – a new treatment option in patients with relapsed and refractory Hodgkin lymphoma
Even though Hodgkin lymphoma is a highly curable disease some of the patients have either a refractory disease or experience a relapse following a successful primary therapy. Durable responses and remissions in patients with relapsed or refractory disease may be achieved in approximately one-half with salvage chemotherapy followed by high dose chemotherapy and autologous hematopoietic cell rescue (HDT and SCT). On the other hand, patients who relapse after HDT and autologous SCT or those who have failed at least two prior multi-agent chemotherapy regimens and are not candidates for HDT have limited treatment options. A new treatment option in this population is an immunotoxin Brentuximab vedotin composed of a CD30 directed antibody linked to the antitubulin agent monomethyl auristatin E. It has demonstrated a substantial effectiveness and an acceptable toxicity. In the pivotal study, the overall response rate was 75% with 34% of complete remissions. The median durations of response were 20.5 and 6.7 months for those with complete remission and all responding patients, respectively. The median overall survival was 40.5 months (3-years overall survival 54%) and the median progression-free survival 9.3 months. The most common non-hematologic toxicities were peripheral sensory neuropathy, nausea, and fatigue while the most common severe side effects were neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, anemia, and peripheral sensory neuropathy.