Brentuximab vedotin followed by bendamustine supercharge for refractory or relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma

M. Picardi, R. Della Pepa, C. Giordano, N. Pugliese, C. Mortaruolo, F. Trastulli, M. G. Rascato, I. Cappuccio, M. Raimondo, M. Memoli, M. Monteverde, M. Mascolo and F. Pane

Key Points

  • FDG-PET–negative status achieved with salvage therapy is the most important determinant of favorable outcome after HSCT, for patients with R/R cHL.

  • Our modified Bv+Bs salvage regimen led to deep metabolic responses in the majority of patients, establishing a bridge to transplant.


We evaluated the impact on progression-free survival (PFS) of achieving a deep metabolic response at 2-deoxy-2[18F] fluoro-d-glucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in patients with refractory or relapsed (R/R) classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) following a new salvage regimen named Bv+Bs (brentuximab vedotin + bendamustine supercharge), from 2013 to 2017. In this real-life study, 20 consecutive patients (aged <60 years) with R/R cHL after failure of ≥1 salvage treatments received Bv+Bs regimen consisting of 3-days outpatient IV infusions of 1.8 mg/kg of Bv on day 1 of each 3-week cycle combined in sequence to bendamustine on days 2 and 3 of the treatment cycle at a fixed dose of 120 mg/m2 per day, for a total of 4 courses. A robust primary prophylaxis approach, including premedication, antimicrobials, stimulating factors, and cytomegalovirus monitoring, was systematically performed. The 20 patients (all evaluable) underwent 4 courses of Bv+Bs with a median dose intensity of 100% for both Bv and Bs. Ten patients (50%) experienced grade ≥3 treatment-related adverse events, without requiring hospitalization. At post-Bv+Bs reevaluation, 80% of patients had deep metabolic responses with Deauville 5-point scale scores ≤2. Thereafter, 14 patients (70%) received autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT; peripheral blood stem cells previously harvested in 12 cases), and 4 patients (10%) received allogeneic HSCT. At a median follow-up of 27 months from Bv+Bs regimen initiation, the 2-year PFS of the entire population was 93.7% (95% confidence interval, 62.7% to 99.6%). Our data suggest that Bv+Bs regimen-driven strategy may be a promising salvage option to improve long-term control of high-risk Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Submitted March 7, 2019.
  • Accepted April 14, 2019.
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