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Blood Adv. 2020 Jan 14;4(1):47-54. doi: 10.1182/bloodadvances.2019000736.

Trends in postrelapse survival in classic Hodgkin lymphoma patients after experiencing therapy failure following auto-HCT.

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Division of Hematology and Oncology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI.
Division of Hematology, Department of Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
Division of Hematology, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO; and.
Department of Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX.


Patients with classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) who relapse after autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (auto-HCT) historically have had poor outcomes. We hypothesized that, post-auto-HCT relapse, overall survival (PR-OS) has improved in recent years as a result of more widespread use of novel therapies and allogeneic HCT (allo-HCT). We conducted a retrospective study in 4 US academic centers, evaluating 215 patients who underwent auto-HCT from 2005 to 2016 and relapsed thereafter. Patients were divided into 2 cohorts based on timing of auto-HCT, 2005 through 2010 (cohort 1; n = 118) and 2011 to 2016 (cohort 2; n = 97), to compare differences in clinical outcomes. The median age and disease status at auto-HCT were similar in cohorts 1 and 2. The proportions of patients who received brentuximab vedotin (Bv; 55% vs 69%; P = .07), checkpoint inhibitors (CPIs; 3% vs 36%; P ≤ .001), and allogeneic-HCT (22% vs 35%, P = .03) were significantly different between cohorts 1 and 2, respectively. At the 5-year follow-up after auto relapse, 32% and 50% of patients were alive in cohorts 1 and 2, respectively (P = .01). In multivariate analysis for PR-OS, cohort 1 vs 2 (hazard ratio [HR], 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.14-4.60; P = .01), age at auto-HCT (HR, 1.48; 95% CI, 1.18-1.87; P ≤ .001), and time to relapse from auto-HCT (HR, 0.59; 95% CI, 0.47-74; P ≤ .0001), retained independent prognostic significance for PR-OS. Our study supports the hypothesis that survival of cHL patients after auto-HCT failure has significantly improved in recent years, most likely because of incorporation of novel therapies and more widespread use of allo-HCT.

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