Description

Children, adolescents, and young adults (CAYA) with relapsed/refractory classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) without complete metabolic response (CMR) before autologous hematopoietic cell transplantation (auto-HCT) have poor survival outcomes. CheckMate 744, a phase 2 study for CAYA (aged 5-30 years) with relapsed/refractory cHL, evaluated a risk-stratified, response-adapted approach with nivolumab plus brentuximab vedotin (BV) followed by BV plus bendamustine for patients with suboptimal response. Risk stratification was primarily based on time to relapse, prior treatment, and presence of B symptoms. We present the primary analysis of the standard-risk cohort. Data from the low-risk cohort are reported separately. Patients received 4 induction cycles with nivolumab plus BV; those without CMR (Deauville score >3, Lugano 2014) received BV plus bendamustine intensification. Patients with CMR after induction or intensification proceeded to consolidation (high-dose chemotherapy/auto-HCT per protocol). Primary endpoint was CMR any time before consolidation. Forty-four patients were treated. Median age was 16 years. At a minimum follow-up of 15.6 months, 43 patients received 4 induction cycles (1 discontinued); 11 of whom received intensification, 32 proceeded to consolidation. CMR rate was 59% after induction with nivolumab plus BV, and 94% any time before consolidation (nivolumab plus BV ± BV plus bendamustine). One-year PFS rate was 91%. During induction, 18% of patients experienced grade 3/4 treatment-related adverse events. This risk-stratified, response-adapted salvage strategy had high CMR rates with limited toxicities in CAYA with relapsed/refractory cHL. Most patients did not require additional chemotherapy (bendamustine intensification). Additional follow-up is needed to confirm durability of disease control. ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02927769.