INTRODUCTION: The intent of treating newly diagnosed Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients is to achieve a complete remission that can eventually translate into a cure. Treatment decisions for HL are guided by several factors, including sub-type, stage, disease symptomatology, laboratory results, radiologic imaging, age and overall health. Understanding patient profiles and treatment characteristics is important as there is a demographic difference between patients treated in community and academic settings. The intent of this study was to improve understanding of the HL patient population and treatment trends among unfavorable-/advanced-stage HL patients receiving care within the US community oncology setting. METHODS: This was a retrospective, observational cohort study of adult HL patients with Stage IIB-IV disease who initiated first-line chemotherapy within the US Oncology Network between 1/1/09 - 6/30/12. Patients were followed until 6/30/16. Most data were captured from structured fields of the electronic healthcare record, with a targeted chart review performed to provide additional detail on select study variables for a subset of the study population. Descriptive analyses were performed to assess patient and treatment characteristics, while the Kaplan Meier method was used to calculate the duration of therapy (DOT), time to next treatment (TTNT) and time to stem cell transplantation (SCT). RESULTS: In total, 565 patients met eligibility criteria and were included in the analysis. The mean age of the patient population was 44.3 years (standard deviation [SD] 18.2), 55.0% were male and 69.2% were Caucasian. Most patients (90.4%) received the ABVD regimen (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine) or a variant of the ABVD regimen in the first-line setting (LOT1). Seventy-four (13.1%) patients were as assumed to have relapsed/refractory disease, as evidenced by advancement to second-line (LOT2) therapy. Among these patients, 44.6% received an etoposide-containing regimen, 17.6% received a brentuximab vedotin-containing regimen and 9.5% GVD (gemcitabine, vinorelbine, doxorubicin). Nearly 30% of LOT2 patients received a regimen classified into an "other" category because it was received by less than 5 patients in the study. Following LOT1, the median TTNT was 67.9 weeks (95% confidence interval [CI] 50.8,104.5). Among the 511 patients who received ABVD/ABVD variant regimens in LOT1, the median TTNT was 67.9 weeks (95%CI 49.0,90.9). Compared to LOT1, the median DOT of LOT2 was shorter (22.1 weeks [95%CI not reached] vs. 7.6 [95%CI 6.3, 10.1] weeks). The median DOTs of ABVD/ABVD variants and AVD in LOT1 were 22.1 (95%CI not reached) and 20.1 (95%CI 7.1, 22.1) weeks, respectively. Only 32 patients advanced to LOT3 and 7 to LOT4. Among patients selected for chart review, 31.2% reported symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy during LOT1. Data pertaining to radiologic imaging and SCT were only available among patients selected for chart review. These results indicated that positron emission tomography (PET) scans were most frequently performed at diagnosis (74.9% of records reviewed) and/or after LOT1 (55.3% of records reviewed). At diagnosis, all PET scan results were positive (Deauville score 4-5); after LOT1 71.7% were negative (Deauville score 1-3). Treatment changes explicitly attributed to PET scan results were infrequently documented. Among the 29 patients observed to have undergone SCT, the median time to SCT was 41.1 weeks (95%CI 32.7, 56.8). CONCLUSIONS: These findings provide insight into the patient profiles and treatment progression in a US community oncology setting. In particular, ABVD/ABVD variant regimens were observed to be the predominate therapy in the front-line setting. Intensive salvage therapy and consolidative SCT were uncommon in the second-line setting, with most patients receiving etoposide- and brentuximab vedotin-containing regimens. Utilization of PET imaging at diagnosis, for interim response assessment and at completion of therapy was not universal. The apparent difference in use of imaging observed in this community oncology setting compared to what is reported by academic centers may be due variation treatment practices across these organizations or underlying differences in their patient populations. Future research should explore how patient profiles influence use of imaging and associated treatment decisions.


Yasenchak: Seattle Genetics: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy. Feliciano: Seattle Genetics: Employment, Equity Ownership. Aguilar: McKesson Specialty Health: Employment. Clark: McKesson Specialty Health: Employment, Equity Ownership. Amirian: McKesson Specialty Health: Employment. Richhariya: Seattle Genetics: Employment, Equity Ownership.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.