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The agent brentuximab vedotin consists of an anti-CD30 antibody conjugated to the antimitotic agent MMAE. In August 2011, the FDA approved brentuximab vedotin as a treatment for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and systemic anaplastic large-cell lymphoma.
Adding to this, brentuximab has been explored in a phase II study in patients with CD30-positive relapsed/refractory diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL). In this trial, the single agent response rate was close to 40%, notes Brad S. Kahl, MD. There are few approved therapies for patients with DLBCL, representing the potential to fill an unmet need. Whether this therapy could be utilized as a bridge to transplantation remains unclear, Kahl notes.
The activity of this agent raises the question of whether CD30 screening should become standard practice. Additionally, since the study included patients with low levels of CD30 (>1% by IHC), it remains unclear whether there could be a second mechanism of action inducing antitumor activity outside of direct activity against malignant cells, Kahl notes.