Key Points

  • Brentuximab vedotin plus AVD without consolidative radiation is an effective therapy for nonbulky limited-stage HL.

  • Peripheral neuropathy and neutropenic fever appear increased with brentuximab-AVD compared with the expected toxicities of ABVD alone.


Doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) with or without radiation is standard therapy for limited-stage Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) but carries risks of bleomycin-induced lung injury and radiation toxicity. Brentuximab vedotin is highly active in relapsed HL and was recently approved with doxorubicin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (AVD) for previously untreated stage III/IV HL. We evaluated brentuximab-AVD for nonbulky stage I/II HL in a multicenter phase 2 study. Patients received a lead-in cycle of brentuximab vedotin monotherapy on days 1 and 15, followed by an exploratory positron emission tomography/computed tomography scan. Patients then received brentuximab-AVD for 4 to 6 cycles based on interim positron emission tomography/computed tomography scanning after cycle 2. Thirty-four patients were enrolled with a median age of 36 years (range, 20-75 years). Risk was early favorable in 62% and unfavorable in 38%. The best complete response rate was 100%. At a median follow-up of 38 months, the progression-free survival and overall survival were 94% and 97%, respectively. The most common adverse events were peripheral sensory neuropathy (79%), neutropenia (76%), fatigue (74%), and nausea (71%). The most common grade 3/4 toxicities were neutropenia (62%), febrile neutropenia (35%), and peripheral sensory neuropathy (24%). One elderly patient died of neutropenic sepsis in the first brentuximab-AVD cycle. Brentuximab dose reductions were required in 38% of patients, most for peripheral neuropathy. In conclusion, brentuximab-AVD without bleomycin or radiation produced a high complete response rate, with most patients requiring only 4 total cycles of therapy. Because toxicity was higher than would be expected from AVD alone, this method may not be appropriate for early-stage patients with a highly favorable prognosis. This trial was registered at as #NCT01534078.

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