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Relapsed and refractory nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma: an analysis from the German Hodgkin Study Group

Dennis A. Eichenauer, Annette Plütschow, Lena Schröder, Michael Fuchs, Boris Böll, Bastian von Tresckow, Volker Diehl, Peter Borchmann and Andreas Engert

Key points

  • Patients with relapsed or refractory NLPHL have a favorable overall prognosis.

  • Treatment of relapsed or refractory NLPHL should be chosen individually.

Abstract

The optimal treatment for patients with relapsed or refractory nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL) is ill defined. To shed more light on treatment options and outcome, we performed an analysis using the database of the German Hodgkin Study Group (GHSG). Ninety-nine patients who had received first-line treatment within 12 prospective GHSG studies conducted between 1993 and 2009 and subsequently developed disease recurrence (n=91) or had primary disease progression (n=8) were included. At initial NLPHL diagnosis, the median age was 40 years and 76% of patients were male. First-line treatment consisted of radiotherapy (RT) alone (20%), chemotherapy +/- RT (74%) and the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab (6%), respectively. The median follow-up from initial diagnosis was 11.2 years. The median time to disease recurrence was 3.7 years. The applied salvage approaches included single-agent anti-CD20 antibody treatment or RT alone (37%), conventional chemotherapy +/- anti-CD20 antibody treatment +/- RT (27%) and high-dose chemotherapy followed by autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) (31%). No salvage treatment was given in 4% of patients. The 5-year progression-free survival and overall survival estimates after NLPHL recurrence were 75.6% and 89.5% (74.1% and 97.2% after single-agent anti-CD20 antibody treatment or RT alone, 68.0% and 77.8% after conventional chemotherapy +/- anti-CD20 antibody treatment +/- RT, 84.6% and 89.8% after high-dose chemotherapy and ASCT). Hence, patients with relapsed or refractory NLPHL had a good overall prognosis. Factors such as time to disease recurrence and previous treatment may guide the choice of the optimal salvage approach for the individual patient.

  • Submitted February 27, 2018.
  • Accepted July 25, 2018.