Management of relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma in transplant-ineligible patients

Neha Mehta-Shah and Nancy L. Bartlett


Addition of brentuximab vedotin, a CD30-targeted antibody–drug conjugate, and the programmed death 1 (PD-1) inhibitors nivolumab and pembrolizumab to the armamentarium for transplant-ineligible relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma has resulted in improved outcomes, including the potential for cure in a small minority of patients. For patients who have failed prior transplant or are unsuitable for dose-intense approaches based on age or comorbidities, an individualized approach with sequential use of single agents such as brentuximab vedotin, PD-1 inhibitors, everolimus, lenalidomide, or conventional agents such as gemcitabine or vinorelbine may result in prolonged survival with a minimal or modest effect on quality of life. Participation in clinical trials evaluating new approaches such as combination immune checkpoint inhibition, novel antibody–drug conjugates, or cellular therapies such as Epstein-Barr virus–directed cytotoxic T lymphocytes and chimeric antigen receptor T cells offer additional options for eligible patients.

  • Submitted September 22, 2017.
  • Accepted November 7, 2017.
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