Managing HL recently talked with Dr. Robert Chen, an assistant professor at the City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, California, and co-leader of a leading lymphoma disease team. MHL asked Dr. Chen about the new and emerging treatments in Hodgkin lymphoma that are most likely to have the greatest impact on improving outcomes for relapsed or refractory disease.
Dr. Chen: There are multiple treatments that have the potential to improve outcomes in patients whose Hodgkin lymphoma is relapsed or refractory. Brentuximab vedotin is an antibody-drug conjugate that targets CD30-positive cells. Hodgkin lymphoma is one of several malignancies that express CD30, and this drug has already shown great efficacy and received accelerated FDA approval for relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.
A novel class of drugs that is generating a lot of excitement is the PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors. These drugs are immunomodulators that are designed to help the body’s own immune system fight cancer. Among these, pembrolizumab (anti-PD-1), nivolumab (anti-PD-1), and avelumab (anti-PD-L1), have all either been tested in phase 1, or are currently undergoing phase 1 testing. They all seem to be tolerable and have a good overall response rate, and appear to have good duration of response. Currently, these agents are undergoing phase 2 testing in order to confirm the response rate. Once these results are reported, these agents will move on to receive FDA approval, which will be an exciting step forward in the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma.
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