Pembrolizumab in relapsed or refractory Hodgkin lymphoma: Two-year follow-up of KEYNOTE-087

Robert Chen, Pier Luigi Zinzani, Hun Ju Lee, Philippe Armand, Nathalie A. Johnson, Pauline Brice, John Radford, Vincent Ribrag, Daniel Molin, Theodoros P. Vassilakopoulos, Akihiro Tomita, Bastian von Tresckow, Margaret A. Shipp, Jianxin Lin, Eunhee Kim, Akash Nahar, Arun Balakumaran and Craig H. Moskowitz

Key Points

  • Pembrolizumab provided durable and deep responses with acceptable tolerability in a broad spectrum of RRcHL

  • Pembrolizumab was also effective in hard-to-treat chemorefractory cHL


Programmed death 1 inhibitors are recommended for patients with relapsed or refractory classic Hodgkin lymphoma (RRcHL). However, durability of response remains to be determined. We present 2-year follow-up of the phase 2 KEYNOTE-087 (NCT02453594) study of pembrolizumab in 210 patients in 3 cohorts based on HL progression With median follow-up of 27.6 months, objective response rate (ORR) by blinded independent central review was 71.9% (95% CI, 65.3-77.9); complete response rate (CRR), 27.6%; partial response rate, 44.3%. Response rates by cohort were as follows: cohort 1: ORR: 76.8%; CRR: 26.1%; cohort 2: ORR: 66.7%; CRR: 25.9%; cohort 3: ORR: 73.3%; CRR: 31.7%. Median duration of response was 16.5 months (range, 0.0+ to 27.0+; [+, no progressive disease at last assessment]) in all patients; 22.1 months in cohort 1, 11.1 months in cohort 2, and 24.4 months in cohort 3. Median progression-free survival was not reached in all patients with CR, 13.8 months (95% CI, 12.0-22.1) for patients with partial response, 10.9 months (95% CI, 5.6-11.1) for patients with stable disease. Median overall survival was not reached in all patients or in any cohort. Treatment-related adverse events (TRAEs) of any grade occurred in 153 (72.9%) patients; grade 3/4 occurred in 25 (11.9%) patients, most commonly, neutropenia (5 [2.4%]) and diarrhea (3 [1.4%]); none resulted in death. TRAEs led to discontinuation in 14 (6.7%) patients. Results confirmed the effective antitumor activity, durability of response, and manageable safety of pembrolizumab monotherapy in RRcHL, regardless of prior treatment and including chemoresistant cHL.

  • Submitted February 26, 2019.
  • Revision received August 12, 2019.
  • Accepted July 4, 2019.