Long-Term Outcomes of Nivolumab Therapy in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after High-Dose Chemotherapy with Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Real Clinical Practice

KV Lepik1, NP Volkov1, NB Mikhailova1, EV Kondakova1, LA Tsvetkova1, YuR Zalyalov1, EE Lepik1, LV Fedorova1, AV Beinarovich1, MV Demchenkova2, OG Smykova1, PV Kotselyabina1, IS Moiseev1, VV Baikov1, BV Afanasyev1

1 RM Gorbacheva Scientific Research Institute of Pediatric Oncology, Hematology and Transplantation; IP Pavlov First Saint Petersburg State Medical University, 6/8 L’va Tolstogo str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 197022

2 Regional Oncologic Dispensary, 32 Frunze str., Irkutsk, Russian Federation, 664035

For correspondence: Kirill Viktorovich Lepik, MD, PhD, 6/8 L’va Tolstogo str., Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 197022; е-mail: lepikkv@gmail.com

For citation: Lepik KV, Volkov NP, Mikhailova NB, et al. Long-Term Outcomes of Nivolumab Therapy in Patients with Relapsed/Refractory Classic Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after High-Dose Chemotherapy with Autologous Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation in Real Clinical Practice. Clinical oncohematology. 2020;13(3):280–8 (In Russ).

DOI: 10.21320/2500-2139-2020-13-3-280-288


Aim. To assess prognostic factors and to analyze the outcomes of nivolumab therapy in patients with relapsed/refractory classic Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cHL) after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (auto-HSCT).

Materials & Methods. The retrospective analysis included 42 patients treated with nivolumab 3 mg/kg after auto-HSCT in the period from 2016 to 2020. The response to nivolumab therapy was assessed every three months by whole-body PET/CT based on LYRIC criteria. Toxicity profile was assessed by establishing adverse events (AE) based on NCI CTCAE 4.03 criteria.

Results. The study included 42 patients with relapsed/refractory cHL: 21 (50 %) men and 21 (50 %) women. The median age was 32.5 years (range 22–43 years). At diagnosis the following cHL stages were identified: stage II in 14 pts (33.3 %), stage III in 12 pts (28.6 %), and stage IV in 16 pts (38.1 %). Primary chemoresistance after the first-line therapy was observed in 26 pts (61.9 %) and early relapse in 4 pts (9.52 %). The median follow-up was 38 months, 3-year overall survival was 97 % (95% confidence interval, 95% CI, 83.2–99.6 %), 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 34.8 % (95% CI 20.3–49.9 %; median 12.9 months). Objective response was reported in 69 % of patients, complete response (CR) in 33.3 %, partial response in 35.7 %, stable disease in 7.1 %, indeterminate response in 14.3 %, and progression in 9.5 % of patients. The analysis of factors affecting PFS revealed significant differences in patients who reached CR after 6 nivolumab cycles: 3-year PFS 56.2 % (95% CI 24.4–79.1 %) vs. 25.2 % (95% CI 10.46–43.1 %) in patients who did not reach CR (= 0.054). If extranodal lesions were identified at nivolumab therapy onset, PFS was 29 % (95% CI 7.8–37.5 %) vs. 68 % (95% CI 35.9–86.8 %) in their absence (= 0.0079). The overall rate of AEs on nivolumab therapy was 92.9 %, severe AEs of grade 3–4 were observed in 19.1 % of patients.

Conclusion. Nivolumab shows high efficacy in the treatment of patients with relapsed/refractory cHL after the failure of auto-HSCT and considerably improves prognosis compared with historical control. The efficacy of nivolumab is independent of brentuximab vedotin use and duration of prior therapy. Throughout the follow-up period the toxicity level of nivolumab was acceptable and controlled. Clinical factors that affect prognosis for patients on immunotherapy were identified.

Keywords: Hodgkin’s lymphoma, nivolumab, brentuximab vedotin, auto-HSCT, immunotherapy.

Received: March 24, 2020

Accepted: June 15, 2020

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