Abstract

Classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) stands out as success story in the field of medical oncology, with multiagent chemotherapy with or without radiation leading to durable remission for most patients. Large-scale clinical trials during the past 40 years have sought to minimize toxicities while maintaining strong efficacy, including efforts to reduce the size of radiation fields, minimize alkylator chemotherapy, reduce the number of chemotherapy cycles, and omit radiation in select populations. The last decade has also ushered in novel therapies, including brentuximab vedotin (BV), that have improved clinical outcomes for patients with cHL resistant to standard cytotoxic therapies. More recently, a large randomized trial compared BV plus chemotherapy with chemotherapy alone for first-line treatment of advanced stage cHL. With ∼24 months of available follow-up, the BV containing regimen was found to be associated with a reduction in the risk of progression, death, or incomplete response to first-line treatment (modified progression-free survival). Whether this early signal of improved efficacy is worth the additional acute toxicities and added drug-related expenses associated with incorporating BV into first-line treatment remains controversial. This chapter provides historical background; reviews the cost-effectiveness of available cHL therapies; and summarizes potential ways to balance innovation, affordability, and patient access to novel therapeutics.

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