The Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval to nivolumab for the treatment of patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) that has relapsed or progressed after autologous hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and posttransplantation brentuximab vedotin.

Approval was based on a 65% objective response rate in 95 patients treated with nivolumab following autologous HSCT and posttransplantation brentuximab vedotin. All patients in the single-arm, multicenter trial had relapsed or refractory cHL and were enrolled regardless of PD-L1 expression status. Patients received a median of 17 doses of nivolumab, the FDA said in a written statement .

The median time to response was 2.1 months (range, 0.7-5.7 months). The estimated median duration of response was 8.7 months.

The FDA also issued a warning for complications of allogeneic HSCT after nivolumab, reporting that transplant-related deaths have occurred. Health care professionals should follow patients closely for early evidence of transplant-related complications, such as hyperacute graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), severe acute GVHD, steroid-requiring febrile syndrome, hepatic veno-occlusive disease, and other immune-mediated adverse reactions, they said.

The most common adverse reactions in a second single-arm study used to evaluate safety (n = 263) were upper respiratory tract infection, cough, pyrexia, and diarrhea. Other immune-mediated adverse reactions, occurring in 1%-5% of patients, included rash, pneumonitis, hepatitis, hyperthyroidism, and colitis. The most common serious adverse reactions, which were reported in 1%-3% of patients, were pneumonia, pleural effusion, pneumonitis, pyrexia, infusion-related reaction, and rash.

Nivolumab is marketed as Opdivo by Bristol-Myers Squibb and has been previously approved to treat advanced renal cell carcinoma, lung cancer, and melanoma.

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