PD-1 Blockade with Nivolumab as a New Immunotherapy for Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

EA Demina

NN Blokhin National Medical Cancer Research Center, 24 Kashirskoye sh., Moscow, Russian Federation, 115478

For correspondence: Prof. Elena Andreevna Demina, MD, PhD, 24 Kashirskoye sh., Moscow, Russian Federation, 115478; e-mail: drdemina@yandex.ru

For citation: Demina EA. PD-1 Blockade with Nivolumab as a New Immunotherapy for Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Clinical oncohematology. 2018;11(3):213–19.

DOI: 10.21320/2500-2139-2018-11-3-213-219


During the last two decades individualization of programmed treatment combined with intensified chemotherapy has proven to be effective treatment for the majority of classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cHL) patients. However, in 10–30 % of cases relapses and resistance to therapy still occur. Further intensification of therapy induces toxicity that leads to decrease in overall survival and quality of life. The standard second-line treatment with high-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) and autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (auto-HSCT) allows for the achievement of long-term 5-year progression-free survival only in 50–60 % of patients with relapsed disease and not more than 40–45 % of patients with refractory disease. Approximately 50 % of patients relapse after HDCT and auto-HSCT. The median overall survival of relapsed patients does not exceed 2 years. Allogeneic HSCT improves treatment results to some extent, but is not an optimal strategy in all patients. A search for new treatment options has been made to improve effectiveness of relapsed and refractory cHL treatment and to reduce toxicity of highly effective programs. А new CD30-targeted conjugate brentuximab vedotin was developed to use anti-CD30 monoclonal antibodies against a specific marker of tumor Reed-Sternberg cells allowing for the transfer of the highly effective antitumor compound of monomethyl auristatin E directly to tumor cells. This drug showed high effectiveness, although failed to provide a complete solution to the problem. The development of anti-PD1 antibody nivolumab opened up new opportunities for cHL treatment. This paper reviews literature information on pharmacological data and antitumor mechanisms of the drug as well as the results of significant international randomised studies.

Keywords: nivolumab, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, relapse, resistance, treatment.

Received: February 5, 2018

Accepted: April 30, 2018

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