Introduction

Brentuximab vedotin (BV) targets CD30, a receptor expressed on the Reed-Sternberg cells of classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL). Nivolumab (Nivo) restores antitumor immunity by blocking the PD-1 receptor on activated T-cells. In this phase 1/2 study, combination treatment (tx) with BV + Nivo demonstrated durable efficacy in patients (pts) with relapsed/refractory (R/R) cHL (Herrera, Blood 2018; NCT02572167). Biomarkers consistent with innate and adaptive immune activation were observed in the peripheral blood of pts treated with the combination regimen. Herein, we associate biomarkers in the peripheral blood with clinical response, and present follow-up results for pts who received BV + Nivo under staggered and concurrent dosing schedules.

Methods

Enrolled pts had cHL that relapsed or was refractory to frontline chemotherapy. In Parts 1 and 2 (staggered dosing), pts received up to 4 cycles of BV 1.8 mg/kg and Nivo 3.0 mg/kg given on Days 1 and 8 of Cycle 1, respectively, and together on Day 1 of Cycles 2-4. Pts in Part 3 (concurrent dosing) received the same dose of both agents on Day 1 of all 4 cycles. After investigators assessed response (Cheson 2014, with the incorporation of LYRIC [Cheson 2016] for pts in Part 3), pts could undergo ASCT.

Results

Demographics and baseline characteristics were similar across all treated pts (N=91) in the staggered and concurrent dosing cohorts; median age 34 years (yrs, range; 18-69), 42% with primary refractory disease, and 30% with relapse within 1 yr of frontline therapy. All 91 pts are off-tx and have been observed through the 100-day safety reporting period. A total of 86 pts (92%) completed all 4 cycles of BV + Nivo. Early tx discontinuations were due to; AE (peripheral neuropathy and increased GGT [1 pt each]), progressive disease (PD), investigator decision, and pt decision (1 pt each). Most common AEs prior to ASCT or additional salvage therapy were nausea (52%) and infusion-related reactions (IRRs, 43%). Excluding IRRs, 14% of pts had immune-related AEs requiring tx with systemic steroids, including rash (8%), pneumonitis (4%), and AST increased, diarrhea, and Guillain-Barre syndrome (1% each). The ORR for all-treated pts was 85%, with 67% complete response (CR). A total of 67 pts (74%) underwent ASCT after tx with BV + Nivo. There were 22 pts who received additional salvage therapy after BV + Nivo (7 PD, 6 partial response, 5 stable disease, and 4 CR at EOT), 17 of whom later underwent ASCT. At a median of 22.6 months (range; 1.2, 41.2) from the start of tx, the estimated 2-yr PFS rate in all treated pts was 78%, and for pts who underwent ASCT after tx with BV + Nivo was 91% (Figure 1). At 2 years, the estimated OS rate for all treated pts was 93%.

Staggered and concurrent dosing of BV + Nivo resulted in increased levels of activated and dividing CD4+ T cells, activated and dividing CD8+ T cells (concurrent dosing-only), regulatory T cells (Tregs), and circulating plasmablasts in blood. We did not observe any associations between the magnitude of these changes and clinical response. Pts with CR exhibited trends for higher pre-tx blood levels of CD30+ Tregs and CD30+ Th subsets compared to pts without CR, suggesting BV depletion of these populations may have a role in the clinical mode of action of BV + Nivo. Although pre-tx levels of cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTLs) in blood did not differentiate pts with CR from other pts, pts in the lower quartile of pre-tx CTL levels showed significantly shorter PFS than other pts, suggesting a potential association between CTLs and disease control. Changes in blood cytokine and chemokine levels were observed after BV + Nivo, including increased levels of IL-18, IP-10, I-TAC, and sCD30, and decreased levels of TARC, IL-2Ra, and IL-6. Our analyses support strong correlations between pre-tx cytokine/chemokine levels and clinical benefit including trends linking lower pre-tx levels of IL-18, I-TAC, and IL-2RA to achieving CR and longer PFS.

Conclusion

BV + Nivo, both staggered and current dosing, showed tolerability and high CR rates with durable remissions among pts with R/R cHL. Analysis of blood biomarkers identified trends potentially linking baseline levels of CD30+ immune cells and the baseline pt inflammatory state with the activity of BV + Nivo. Together, these encouraging results support further investigation of BV + Nivo as initial salvage therapy in pts with R/R cHL.

Disclosures

Moskowitz:Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Merck: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Merck: Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Incyte: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Cell Medica: Consultancy; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Incyte: Research Funding; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Merck: Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Cell Medica: Consultancy; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Merck: Research Funding; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Merck: Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Incyte: Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Incyte: Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Incyte: Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; miRagen Therapeutics Inc: Consultancy, Research Funding; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Incyte: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Erytech Pharma: Consultancy; Takeda Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Cell Medica: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding; ADC Therapeutics: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Research Funding. Advani:Celmed: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Research Funding; Forty-Seven: Research Funding; Infinity Pharma: Research Funding; Pharmacyclics: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Gilead Sciences, Inc./Kite Pharma, Inc.: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Regeneron: Research Funding; Takeda: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Kyowa Kirin Pharmaceutical Developments, Inc.: Consultancy; Merck: Research Funding; Kura: Research Funding; Bayer: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Autolus: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; AstraZeneca: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Agensys: Research Funding; Cell Medica, Ltd: Consultancy; Stanford University: Employment, Equity Ownership; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Research Funding; Millennium: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding; Roche/Genentech: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Bartlett:Affimed Therapeutics: Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Dynavax: Research Funding; Forty-Seven: Research Funding; Genentech: Research Funding; Gilead: Research Funding; Immune Design: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding; Kite Pharma: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Medimmune: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Millennium: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Pfizer: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Pharmacyclics: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding. Vose:Acerta Pharma: Honoraria, Other: Grants, Research Funding; Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company: Research Funding; Celgene Corporation: Research Funding; Incyte Corporation: Research Funding; Kite Pharma: Honoraria, Other: Grants, Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Research Funding; AbbVie: Consultancy, Honoraria; Epizyme: Consultancy, Honoraria; Legend Pharmaceuticals: Honoraria. Ramchandren:Genentech: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Janssen: Research Funding; Pharmacyclics LLC, an Abbvie company: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding; Sandoz-Novartis: Consultancy, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Feldman:Takeda: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Celgene: Honoraria, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Honoraria, Other: Travel expenses, Speakers Bureau; AbbVie: Honoraria, Other: Travel expenses, Speakers Bureau; Pharmacyclics: Honoraria, Other: Travel expenses, Speakers Bureau; Janssen: Honoraria, Speakers Bureau; Kite Pharma: Honoraria, Other: Travel expenses, Speakers Bureau; Bayer: Consultancy, Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Amgen: Research Funding; Cell Medica: Research Funding; Roche: Research Funding; Corvus: Research Funding; Eisai: Research Funding; Kyowa Hakko Kirin: Research Funding; Pfizer: Research Funding; Portola Pharma: Research Funding; Roche: Research Funding; Trillium: Research Funding; Viracta: Research Funding. LaCasce:BMS: Consultancy; Research to Practice: Speakers Bureau; Humanigen: Consultancy; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Research Funding. Christian:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Genentech: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Cephalon: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding; Immunomedics: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Acerta: Research Funding; Triphase: Research Funding; Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc: Research Funding; Merck: Research Funding. Ansell:Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding; LAM Therapeutics: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Research Funding; Regeneron: Research Funding; Trillium: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Research Funding; Mayo Clinic Rochester: Employment; Affimed: Research Funding; Regeneron: Research Funding; Trillium: Research Funding; Mayo Clinic Rochester: Employment; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Research Funding; LAM Therapeutics: Research Funding; Affimed: Research Funding. Moskowitz:ADC Therapeutics: Research Funding; Merck: Consultancy, Research Funding; Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Consultancy, Research Funding; Genentech: Consultancy, Research Funding; Celgene: Consultancy; Pharmacyclics: Research Funding. Brown:Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Taft:Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Ansari:Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Zak:Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Employment, Equity Ownership. Sacchi:Seattle Genetics, Inc.: Research Funding. Manley:Seattle Genetics: Employment, Equity Ownership. Herrera:Merck: Consultancy, Research Funding; AstraZeneca: Research Funding; Adaptive Biotechnologies: Consultancy; Pharmacyclics: Research Funding; Immune Design: Research Funding; Kite Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Genentech, Inc.: Consultancy, Research Funding; Bristol-Myers Squibb: Consultancy, Research Funding; Gilead Sciences: Consultancy, Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Consultancy, Research Funding.

Author notes

*

Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.