Nivolumab for the Treatment of Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma

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Objective: To review nivolumab for the treatment of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). Data Sources: Literature searches were conducted in Medline (1946 to May week 3 2017), EMBASE (1974 to 2017 week 22), and Google Scholar using the terms Hodgkin lymphoma AND nivolumab. Study Selection and Data Extraction: Two clinical trials (phase I and phase II) were identified. Data Synthesis: Nivolumab inhibits programmed death receptor-1 allowing for increased T-cell mediated immune surveillance of tumors. Nivolumab was evaluated in cHL patients after failure of autologous stem cell transplantation and brentuximab vedotin consolidation. Patients received nivolumab 3 mg/kg every 2 weeks. In the phase I trial, the objective response rate was 87% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 66-97) and the rate of progression-free survival (PFS) at 24 weeks was 86% (95% CI = 62-95). The most common adverse events (AE) included rash (22%) and decreased platelet count (17%). Following extended follow-up at a median of 86 weeks, 50% of the initial responders maintained a durable response. In the phase II clinical trial, 53 patients (66.3%, 95% CI = 54.8-76.4) achieved an objective response and PFS at 6 months was 76.9% (95% CI = 64.9-85.3). The common AE were fatigue (25%), infusion-related reactions (20%), and rash (16%). After further follow-up at a median of 15.4 months, 12-month overall survival was 94.9% (median overall survival not reached). Conclusions: Nivolumab is an effective option in treating patients with relapsed/refractory cHL with an acceptable safety profile. Further studies are needed to investigate the role of nivolumab for the treatment of cHL.

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