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News From the Food and Drug Administration
May 1, 2018

New Option for Patients With Advanced Hodgkin Lymphoma

JAMA. 2018;319(17):1758. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.4903

Expanded FDA approval will allow adults with untreated stage III or IV classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) to receive brentuximab vedotin in combination with chemotherapy. The drug already was approved to treat cHL after relapse and in certain circumstances after stem cell transplants.

Marketed as Adcetris, brentuximab vedotin is an antibody-drug conjugate. It binds to the CD30 antigen on the surface of lymphoma cells and delivers the anticancer drug monomethyl auristatin E into the cells. About 95% of all Hodgkins lymphomas in industrialized countries are the classical type, which is characterized by the presence of large, abnormal lymphocytes called Reed-Sternberg cells. The 5-year survival rate for stage III Hodgkin lymphoma is 80% and 65% for stage IV.