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Adcetris Plus Chemo Promising for Elderly with Hodgkin Lymphoma

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The treatment combination consisting of Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) in addition to either dacarbazine or bendamustine appears to be a promising treatment option as initial therapy for elderly patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. These results were recently presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a type of cancer that involves certain immune cells. If treated early, cure rates for HL are high, particularly among younger patients.

Elderly patients with HL tend to have inferior outcomes compared to their younger counterparts. One reason for this discrepancy is that younger patients are able to tolerate therapy better than the elderly. Therefore, treatment regimens that have fewer side effects, coupled with optimal outcomes for this age group of patients continue to be explored in clinical trials.

Brentuximab vedotin is an agent that binds specifically to the CD-30 antigen, a molecular structure often found on the outside of HL cells. This binding initiates an immune response against the cancer cells, so that the cancer cells are attacked and killed.

Brentuximab vedotin is often used as a single agent in the treatment of elderly patients with HL, providing effective anti-cancer responses.

Researchers recently conducted a clinical trial to evaluate a combination of brentuximab vedotin in addition to a standard chemotherapy agent often used for the treatment of HL to determine effectiveness and tolerability of the combination in elderly patients.

The trial included 60 patients with HL who were at least 60 years of age and had not received prior therapy. Patients were treated with brentuximab vedotin in addition to either dacarbazine or bendamustine, two commonly used chemotherapy agents used in the treatment of HL. The results presented at ASH were an interim analysis; long-term results are still awaited.

Anti-cancer responses were achieved in 100% of patients, regardless of the treatment combination they received.
At approximately 10 months after initiation of treatment, the median duration of survival without progression of cancer has not yet been reached among patients treated with brentuximab vedotin plus dacarbazine.
At 3.6 months after initiation of therapy consisting of brentuximab vedotin plus bendamustine, approximately 90% of patients are alive without progression of cancer.
Significant side effects occurred in 43% of patients.
The researchers concluded that “Based upon these data, combinations including brentuximab vedotin appear to have promise as frontline therapy in this vulnerable patient population. Ongoing follow-up will define durability, and ultimately the potential role of these combinations as standard options for elderly patients with HL.’

Reference: Yasenchak C, Forero-Torres A, Cline-Burkhardt V, et al. Brentuximab Vedotin in Combination with Dacarbazine or Bendamustine for Frontline Treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma in Patients Aged 60 Years and Above: Interim Results of a Multi-Cohort Phase 2 Study. Proceedings from the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). Abstract 587.