Introduction: Patients (pts) with HIV have a 6-fold increased risk of developing classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) over the general population. The outcome of frontline therapy for HIV-associated cHL (HIV-cHL) using doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) is similar to the non-HIV population. However, pts with advanced stage cHL continue to have a 30% chance of refractory/relapsed disease with ABVD. Brentuximab vedotin (BV) is an anti-CD30 antibody drug conjugate that selectively induces apoptosis of CD30+ cells. The FDA approved BV with AVD (BV-AVD) after the Echelon-1 (E1) study for advanced stage disease demonstrated improved modified progression free survival (mPFS) at 2 years compared with standard ABVD: 82% vs. 77%. Pts with HIV were excluded from both relapsed/refractory and frontline BV trials. Here we present the final results of the phase 2 trial of BV-AVD in previously untreated HIV-associated cHL, an AIDS Malignancy Consortium/LYSA collaboration ( ID: NCT01771107).

Methods: Forty-one pts were treated on days 1 and 15 of 6, 28 day cycles, with 1.2mgs/kg of BV in combination with doxorubicin 25 mg/m2, vinblastine 6 mg/m2, and dacarbazine 375 mg/m2 (AVD). Eligibility criteria included untreated cHL stage II-IV, CD4 + T-cell counts ≥50 cells/mm3, and initiation of combined antiretroviral therapy (cART) at least 1 week prior to therapy. Ritonavir, zidovidine, cobisistat, and other strong CYP3A4 or P-glycoprotein inhibitors were excluded with a washout of at least 1 week being required. Hematopoietic growth factor was mandated. The primary objective was 2 year PFS. The sample size was based on providing an estimate of the PFS with a 95% CI +/- 10% under the assumption of a 2 year progression free survival (PFS) estimate of 85%. Secondary objectives included toxicity, effects on CD4/CD8 + T-cells, HIV-1 viral load, prognostic significance of post C2 and end of treatment PET-CT.

Results: Forty-one pts (93% men) were treated with a median age of 48y (range 24-67). Pts presented with stage II (17%), III (27%), and IV (56%) disease. Two year PFS estimate in the overall population (N=41) was 86% (95% CI: .74, .98). The 2-year overall survival (OS) estimate was 92% (95% CI: 0.83, 1.0) with 3 deaths at the time of analysis, including 1 which was a treatment related death (Figure 1A). For pts with advanced disease (N=34), the 2-year PFS estimate was 87% (95% CI: 0.76, 0.99) with an OS estimate of 90% (95% CI: 0.8, 1.00) (Figure 1B). Safety profiles were quite similar to the BV-AVD arm in the E1 study of the pts who received growth factor. Neuropathy was higher in our study compared to E1, (49% vs. 29% for any grade, P=0.01; 9.8% vs. 5% for G3/4, p=0.06). G3 Neutropenia was greater in AMC 085 compared to E1 BV-AVD arm with growth factor: 57% vs. 29% (p<0.01). The outcomes between this study and E1 with respect to serious adverse events due to infection (33% vs. 44%) or febrile neutropenia (11% vs. 15%) during therapy were similar. Two pts were removed from study for violating inclusion criteria by taking ritonavir, a strong CYP 3A4 inhibitor since enrollment. One developed febrile neutropenia and G4 pancreatitis cycle 1 day 7 while the second developed febrile neutropenia prior to cycle 2. A third pt discontinued ritonavir 2 days prior to enrollment and developed a prolonged G3 neuropathy. The median CD4 and CD8+ T-cell counts at diagnosis were 289 cells/mm3 (range 32-818) and 486 cells/mm3 (range 26-1780), respectively. Of evaluable pts an increase in CD4 and CD8+ T-cell counts were noted just 1 month after therapy to 545 cell/mm3 (range161-2130) and 745 cell/mm3 (range 132-3106) noted by cycle 2 day 1. Sixty-nine % had undetectable viral loads at baseline. For those with detectable viral loads at diagnosis, the median viral load was 52 copies/ml (range 22-15,706). HIV-1 viral loads declined during therapy. PET/CT data demonstrated 3/32 pts were PET positive after cycle 2. One of 29 pts was PET/CT positive by end of cycle 6 deemed to be a false positive based on benign biopsy and follow up.

Conclusions: BV-AVD in stage II-IV HIV-cHL was efficacious although neutropenia and neuropathy were increased compared to the non-HIV population. The 2-year PFS estimate was 86% for the entire cohort and 87% for advanced stage HIV-cHL. Major interactions with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors lead to toxicity and must be avoided. The etiology of the CD4 increase is under investigation and may have implications for future therapy.


Rudek:Cullinan Apollo: Research Funding; Taiho: Research Funding; RenovoRX: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding. Barta:Mundipharma: Honoraria; Celgene: Research Funding; Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Takeda: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Honoraria, Research Funding; Bayer: Consultancy, Research Funding; Mundipharma: Honoraria; Merck: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Noy:Medscape: Honoraria; Janssen: Consultancy; Prime Oncology: Honoraria; NIH: Research Funding; Pharamcyclics: Research Funding; Raphael Pharma: Research Funding.

OffLabel Disclosure:

Brentuximab Vedotin has been approved for the upfront treatment of advanced stage cHL in combination with AVD though not specifically approved for use in patients infected with HIV or stage 2 cHL.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

Sign in via your Institution