SOHO State of the Art Updates and Next Questions: Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Abstract

Until recently, advances in classic Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) treatment primarily consisted of minor modifications of highly effective decades-old chemotherapy and radiation approaches. In early-stage disease, excellent outcomes have been reported with fewer cycles of chemotherapy, lower doses, smaller radiation fields and in some circumstances, radiation elimination. In advanced-stage disease, maintaining the dose intensity of standard chemotherapy regimens has resulted in modest improvements in outcomes. During the past decade, the use of early interim positron emission tomography (PET) scans to escalate or de-escalate treatment has been the subject of intense investigation with the goal of maximizing efficacy and minimizing toxicity. Important updates from recent PET-directed trials include; elimination of bleomycin in patients with advanced-stage HL and negative interim PET findings, the benefit of therapy escalation in patients with unfavorable early-stage HL and positive interim PET findings, and the minimal benefit of consolidative radiotherapy in patients with unfavorable early-stage HL and negative interim PET findings. A more nuanced approach to consolidative radiotherapy is required for patients with favorable early-stage disease based on age, disease sites, secondary cancer risk, and cardiovascular disease. Brentuximab vedotin and nivolumab/pembrolizumab have provided promising new options with surprisingly high response rates and modest toxicity for patients with relapsed HL whose disease does not respond to standard treatments. Incorporating these agents into earlier therapy is an area of active investigation for all stages of HL. Although the overall prognosis for HL patients has seen incremental improvement, efforts to optimize treatment with more effective and less toxic approaches continue.

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