Positron Emission Tomography-Adapted Therapy in Bulky Stage I/II Classic Hodgkin Lymphoma: CALGB 50801 (Alliance)

J Clin Oncol. 2022 Oct 21;JCO2200947. doi: 10.1200/JCO.22.00947. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: Patients with bulky stage I/II classic Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) are typically treated with chemotherapy followed by radiation. Late effects associated with radiotherapy include increased risk of second cancer and cardiovascular disease. We tested a positron emission tomography (PET)-adapted approach in patients with bulky, early-stage cHL, omitting radiotherapy in patients with interim PET-negative (PET-) disease and intensifying treatment in patients with PET-positive (PET+) disease.

Methods: Eligible patients with bulky disease (mass > 10 cm or 1/3 the maximum intrathoracic diameter on chest x-ray) received two cycles of doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD) followed by interim fluorodeoxyglucose PET (PET2). Patients with PET2-, defined as 1-3 on the 5-point scale, received four additional cycles of doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine. Patients with PET2+ received four cycles of escalated bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone followed by 30.6 Gy involved-field radiation.

Results: Of 94 evaluable patients, 53% were female with median age 30 years (range, 18-58 years). Eight-five (90%) had stage II disease, including 48 (51%) with stage IIB/IIBE. Seventy-eight (78%) were PET2- and 21 (22%) were PET2+. The predominant toxicity was neutropenia, with 9% of patients developing febrile neutropenia and one developing sepsis. The primary end point of 3-year progression-free survival (PFS) was 93.1% in PET2- and 89.7% in PET2+ patients. Three-year overall survival was 98.6% and 94.4%, respectively. The estimated hazard ratio comparing PFS of patients with PET2+ and patients with PET2- was 1.03 (85% upper bound 2.38) and was significantly less than the null hypothesis of 4.1 (one-sided P = .04).

Conclusion: Our study of PET-adapted therapy in bulky stage I/II cHL met its primary goal and was associated with an excellent 3-year PFS rate of 92.3% in all patients, with the majority being spared radiotherapy and exposure to intensified chemotherapy.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01118026.

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01118026