Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is an uncommon B-cell malignant neoplasm, with high curable rate for patients with localized disease or advanced.However, up to 30% of patients with HL are either refractory or relapsed after primary treatment. Salvage chemotherapy followed by autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) is the standard of care for eligible patients in relapsed setting. Brentuximab vedotin and Bendamustine (BvB) combination have been recommended by National Cancer Center Network (NCCN) as one of the salvage regimens for patients with relapsed or refractory HL prior to transplant or who relapsed after hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT). Evidence from retrospective and prospective studies in regards of BvB have shown remarkable progression free survival (PFS) with 2-years PFS ranging from 62.2% up to 93.7%, and overall survival (OS) ranging from 88.1% up to 95%, and complete remission (CR) rates ranging from 43% to 90%. The objective of this study is to assess patient response to BvB in the treatment of relapsed/refractory HL especially for patients beyond first salvage therapy unlike many other studies.


A retrospective study was conducted in patients with relapsed/refractory Hodgkin lymphoma treated with BvB chemotherapy at single tertiary hospital from January 2016 until July of 2021. Data collection was done including patient demographics data, comorbidities, disease stage, lines of chemotherapy regimens taken, and PET scan response with Deauville score. Brentuximab was given as 1.8mg/kg on day 1, and bendamustine was given as 90mg/m 2 on day 1 and day 2. Cycle was repeated every three weeks.


A total of 16 patients with relapsed/refractory HL whom treated with BvB chemotherapy were analyzed. Median age is 29 years (22-70 years), 5 patients were female, and median number of lines of therapy prior to starting BvB is 2 (0-5). The median number of cycles of BvB was 5.5 (3-8 cycles). 2 out of 16 patients had a prior autologous HSCT (12.5%).

15 patients were assessed for response and one patient died before disease assessment. The overall response rate was 80% with 50% of patients achieving complete metabolic response on PET scan. After median follow up of 14.5 months, the median PFS was 13.4 months (Figure 1), and the median OS was not reached (Figure 2). 4 patients underwent HSCT (3 autologous, and 1 allogeneic).


BvB combination is an effective outpatient-based salvage regimen for heavily pretreated patients with multiple lines chemotherapy in relapsed/refractory HL, as majority of patients in our study were beyond first salvage. As there is no standard salvage regimen in this setting, randomized trials are needed to compare efficacy and safety BvB with other established regimens.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

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