AYA Considerations for Aggressive Lymphomas

Curr Hematol Malig Rep. 2021 Feb;16(1):61-71. doi: 10.1007/s11899-021-00607-7. Epub 2021 Mar 16.


Purpose of review: Lymphoma is the one of the most common cancer diagnoses among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) aged 15-39. Despite significant advances in outcomes observed in older adults and younger children, improvements in AYAs have lagged behind. The reasons for this are likely multifactorial including disparities in access to health insurance, low rates of enrollment to clinical trials, potential differences in disease biology, and unique psychosocial challenges. Here we will review Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma (PMBCL), two of the most common aggressive lymphomas that occur in AYAs. We will discuss the current knowledge about disease biology in AYAs, adult and pediatric treatment strategies, novel targeted therapies, and ongoing AYA clinical trials in these lymphoma subtypes. We also will review unique considerations for treatment-related toxicities in AYAs and psychosocial issues relevant to this population.

Recent findings: Pediatric and adult trials in HL and PMBCL have demonstrated that treatment with dose-intense chemotherapeutic regimens with or without radiation results in high cure rates but can also be associated with long-term toxicity which must be considered in this young population. Novel targeted agents such as the antibody-drug conjugate brentuximab vedotin and/or antibodies targeted against PD-1/PD-L1 have demonstrated activity in the relapsed setting and are currently being evaluated in the upfront setting, which may reduce our reliance on therapies associated with long-term toxicity. AYA-focused clinical trials are currently underway to better elucidate the optimal therapy for lymphomas in this age group. There is an urgent need for clinical trials including AYAs in order to increase the knowledge of age-specific outcomes, toxicities, disease biology, and the need to develop comprehensive AYA care models that meet the unique and complex care needs of this patient population.

Keywords: AYA; Adolescent; Hodgkin lymphoma; Lymphoma; Primary mediastinal B cell lymphoma; Young adult.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological / therapeutic use
  • Brentuximab Vedotin / therapeutic use
  • Disease Management
  • Healthcare Disparities
  • Hodgkin Disease / epidemiology
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Lymphoma / epidemiology*
  • Lymphoma / pathology
  • Lymphoma / therapy*
  • Survival Analysis
  • Young Adult


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Immunological
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Brentuximab Vedotin