Targeted Therapy Promising for Relapsed Hodgkin Lymphoma

In a Phase II clinical trial, three-quarters of patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma responded to treatment with the investigational drug brentuximab vedotin. These results were presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology.

Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system. It typically begins in the lymph nodes in one region of the body and then spreads throughout the lymph system. It may spread outside the lymph system to other organs, such as the lungs, liver, bone, and bone marrow.

Hodgkin lymphoma that returns after prior therapy is considered relapsed, or recurrent, disease. Hodgkin lymphoma that does not respond to standard therapies is considered refractory disease. Patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma may be treated with high doses of chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. If the cancer returns after a stem cell transplant, treatment options are limited.

Brentuximab vedotin is an investigational targeted therapy. The drug delivers a potent type of chemotherapy (monomethyl auristatin E) directly to Hodgkin lymphoma cells.

To evaluate brentuximab vedotin for the treatment of relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma, researchers conducted a Phase II clinical trial among 102 patients who had already undergone an autologous stem cell transplant. All patients were treated with brentuximab vedotin every three weeks for up to 16 cycles of treatment.

In a prepared statement, the lead author of the study concluded “The responses seen in these heavily pre-treated and refractory patients suggest that, if approved by the Food and Drug Administration, brentuximab vedotin may become an important treatment option for patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma.”

Reference: Chen R, Gopal AK, Smith SE. Results of a pivotal phase 2 study of brentuximab vedotin (SGN-35) in patients with relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma. Presented at the 52nd ASH Annual Meeting and Exposition, Orlando, FL, December 4-7, 2010. Abstract 283.

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