Anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies yield high response rates in patients with relapsed/refractory classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL), but most patients will eventually progress. Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) after PD-1 blockade may be associated with increased toxicity, raising challenging questions about the role, timing, and optimal method of transplantation in this setting. To address these questions, we assembled a retrospective cohort of 209 cHL patients who underwent alloHCT after PD-1 blockade. With a median follow-up among survivors of 24 months, the 2-year cumulative incidences (CIs) of non-relapse mortality and relapse were 14 and 18%, respectively; the 2-year graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and relapse-free survival (GRFS), progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival were 47%, 69%, and 82%, respectively. The 180-day CI of grade 3-4 acute GVHD was 15%, while the 2-year CI of chronic GVHD was 34%. In multivariable analyses, a longer interval from PD-1 to alloHCT was associated with less frequent severe acute GVHD, while additional treatment between PD-1 and alloHCT was associated with a higher risk of relapse. Notably, post-transplant cyclophosphamide (PTCy)-based GVHD prophylaxis was associated with significant improvements in PFS and GRFS. While awaiting prospective clinical trials, PTCy-based GVHD prophylaxis may be considered the optimal transplantation strategy for this patient population.
© 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited part of Springer Nature.