Background: Patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) relapsed or refractory (R/R) disease who relapse after or are ineligible for autologous stem cell transplantation have a poor prognosis. Recently, the anti-PD1 monoclonal antibodies nivolumab and pembrolizumab were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA; May 2016 and March 2017, respectively) as treatment options for R/R cHL patients.
Objective: In the absence of comparative clinical trials between these agents, this observational study was conducted to evaluate the healthcare resource utilization (HRU) of patients with cHL initiated on pembrolizumab compared to nivolumab in the USA.
Patients and method: Healthcare insurance claims from Symphony Health's IDV® (Integrated Dataverse) (July 2014-June 2018) were used in this retrospective study. The study population included adult patients with cHL initiated on pembrolizumab or nivolumab (index date). Inverse probability of treatment weighting was used to adjust for differences in patient characteristics between cohorts. All-cause and cHL-related hospitalizations and outpatient visits were measured during the observation (post-index) period and reported per patient-year (PPY). Rates of HRU were compared between cohorts using rate ratios (RRs).
Results: A total of 92 and 218 patients initiated on pembrolizumab and nivolumab, respectively, were included in the study population. After weighting, the mean age was similar at 55 years in both cohorts, while the proportion of females was lower in the pembrolizumab cohort (35.3%) compared to the nivolumab cohort (44.1%). Mean Quan-Charlson Comorbidity Index score was well balanced after weighting in the pembrolizumab and nivolumab cohorts (4.2 and 4.3, respectively). During the observation period, patients in the pembrolizumab cohort had significantly lower rates of all-cause hospitalizations (RR [95% CI] 0.33 [0.09-0.80]) and cHL-related hospitalizations (RR [95% CI] 0.14 [0.02-0.37]) than those in the nivolumab cohort. Rates of all-cause and cHL-related outpatient visits were not statistically different between patients in the pembrolizumab and nivolumab cohorts.
Conclusions: In this real-world study, adult cHL patients initiated on pembrolizumab had significantly lower rates of all-cause and cHL-related hospitalizations compared to patients initiated on nivolumab.