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Micrograph showing Hodgkin lymphoma

CHICAGO—Interim PET scans can identify a subset of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients with a better outcome suitable for de-escalation treatment after upfront BEACOPP without impairing disease control, according to final results of the AHL2011-LYSA study.

BEACOPP, compared to ABVD, improves progression-free survival (PFS) but not overall survival (OS) and is associated with a higher risk of myelodysplasia, acute leukemia, and infertility.

Investigators evaluated whether some patients might be able to reduce treatment intensity without compromising the effectiveness of their therapy.

Olivier Casasnovas, MD, of CHU Le Bocage Service d’Hématologie Clinique, Dijon, France,  presented the final analysis at the 2018 ASCO Annual Meeting (abstract 7503).

AHL2011-LYSA study (NCT01358747)

The randomized phase 3 study compared an early PET-driven treatment de-escalation to a non-PET-monitored strategy in patients with advanced-stage HL.

The study included 823 previously untreated patients, median age 30 years (range 16 – 60), with stage III, IV, or high-risk IIB HL.

The PET-driven strategy consisted of 2 BEACOPP* cycles (PET2), followed by 4 cycles of ABVD** for PET2-negative patients, and 4 cycles of BEACOPP for PET2-positive patients.

The experimental PET-driven strategy (410 patients) was randomly compared to a standard treatment delivering 6 cycles of BEACOPP (413 patients). PFS was the primary endpoint with a hypothesis of non-inferiority of the PET-driven arm compared to the standard arm.

Patients characteristics were well balanced between the arms, Dr Casasnovas said. PET2-positivity rate was similar in both arms (experimental 13%, standard 12%).

Based on PET2 results, 346 (84%) patients received 4 cycles of ABVD and 51 (12%) patients received 4 additional cycles of BEACOPP in the experimental arm.


With a median follow-up of 50 months, the 5-year PFS was similar in the standard (86.2%) and the PET-driven arms (85.7%). The 5-year PFS for PET 2-negative/PET 4-negative patients was 90.9%, for PET 2-positive/PET4-negative patients was 75.4%, and for PET 4-positive patients was 46.5%.

The 5-year OS was similar in both arms (96.4% experimental, 95.2% standard).

The treatment toxicity was significantly higher in patients receiving 6 cycles of BEACOPP as compared to those who received 2 cycles of BEACOPP plus 4 cycles of ABVD.

Those who received more cycles of BEACOPP had more frequent grade 3 or higher adverse events than those with fewer cycles, including anemia (11% vs 2%), leukopenia (85% vs 74%), thrombocytopenia (44% vs 15%), and sepsis (7% vs 3%), as well as in serious adverse events (45% vs 28%).

“After 4 cycles of chemotherapy, it [PET positivity] identifies a subset of patients with a particularly poor outcome,” Dr Casasnovas said, “encouraging researchers to develop new treatment options in these patients.”

“PET performed after 2 cycles of BEACOPP escalation can be safely used to guide subsequent treatment,” he concluded.

“This approach allows clinicians to reduce the treatment-related immediate toxicity in most patients,” he added, “and provides similar patient outcomes compared to standard BEACOPP escalation treatment.” 

* Bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, prednisone

**Adriamycin (doxorubicin), bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine

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