Dr. Ansell Discusses the Role of PD-1 Blockade in Lymphoma

Stephen M. Ansell, MD, PhD
Published: Monday, Aug 20, 2018



Stephen M. Ansell, MD, PhD, chair of the Lymphoma Group at Mayo Clinic, discusses the role of PD-1 blockade in lymphoma.

Ansell says that the field is still working to understand the role of PD-1 blockade compared to antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) in lymphoma. In an attempt to answer this, there are currently trials in the relapsed/refractory setting where patients are being randomized to a PD-1 inhibitor or an ADC. Additionally, there are multiple trials utilizing these agents as upfront therapy, as well as in combination in the frontline, Ansell says.

There are opportunities for PD-1 blockade to make a home for itself in lymphoma. For example, elderly patients with Hodgkin lymphoma do not tolerate chemotherapy well, so using the ADC brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor has been quite promising as an alternative, Ansell explains.

Currently, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) are FDA approved as single agents for the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. Nivolumab is indicated for patients who have relapsed or progressed after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and posttransplantation brentuximab vedotin. Pembrolizumab was approved in March 2017 for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients who are refractory or have relapsed after 3 or more lines of therapy.


Stephen M. Ansell, MD, PhD, chair of the Lymphoma Group at Mayo Clinic, discusses the role of PD-1 blockade in lymphoma.

Ansell says that the field is still working to understand the role of PD-1 blockade compared to antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) in lymphoma. In an attempt to answer this, there are currently trials in the relapsed/refractory setting where patients are being randomized to a PD-1 inhibitor or an ADC. Additionally, there are multiple trials utilizing these agents as upfront therapy, as well as in combination in the frontline, Ansell says.

There are opportunities for PD-1 blockade to make a home for itself in lymphoma. For example, elderly patients with Hodgkin lymphoma do not tolerate chemotherapy well, so using the ADC brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) in combination with a PD-1 inhibitor has been quite promising as an alternative, Ansell explains.

Currently, pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) are FDA approved as single agents for the treatment of patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. Nivolumab is indicated for patients who have relapsed or progressed after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and posttransplantation brentuximab vedotin. Pembrolizumab was approved in March 2017 for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients who are refractory or have relapsed after 3 or more lines of therapy.



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