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Harnessing the immune system through programmed death-1 blockade in the management of Hodgkin lymphoma

Authors Oncale MB, Maymani H, Nastoupil LJ

Received 9 November 2016

Accepted for publication 21 January 2017

Published 16 February 2017 Volume 2017:7 Pages 1—7


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor David Dingli

Melody B Oncale, Hossein Maymani, Loretta J Nastoupil

Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma, Division of Cancer Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA

Abstract: Immunotherapy is a rapidly evolving therapeutic option in the treatment of lymphoma. Neoplastic cells evade immune recognition through the programmed death (PD)-1/PD-ligand immune checkpoint pathway. Several novel agents have been developed to restore the immune system’s ability to recognize and destroy cancer cells. Nivolumab and pembrolizumab are two anti-PD-1 antibodies that have demonstrated success in the treatment of refractory Hodgkin lymphoma. Harnessing the immune system’s ability to target neoplastic cells, ideally without the use of cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents, is one way in which these novel agents are changing the therapeutic landscape in the treatment of lymphomas. Here, we review the emerging data regarding checkpoint inhibitors in the management of Hodgkin lymphoma, the unique adverse effects encountered with the use of these agents, and a practical approach to the management of these adverse effects. Additionally, we discuss upcoming trials that will further assess the promising future developments of checkpoint inhibition in the treatment of not only Hodgkin lymphoma but also other B cell lymphomas and myeloma. These agents offer immense promise of a future where many lymphomas can be treated without the toxic effects of chemotherapeutic agents.

Keywords: Hodgkin lymphoma, programmed death-1, nivolumab, pembrolizumab, lymphoma

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