The following article features coverage from the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO). Click here to read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s conference coverage.

The combination of nivolumab and brentuximab vedotin is “highly active” in patients with relapsed/refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBL), according to a study presented at Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO).1

The combination is being evaluated in the phase 1/2 CheckMate 436 trial ( Identifier: NCT02581631), which includes patients with relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In the primary analysis of patients with PMBL, published in 2019, the median follow-up was 11.1 months.2 At SOHO 2021, results were reported with a median follow-up of 33.7 months.

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The cohort included 30 patients with relapsed/refractory PMBL. At baseline, they had a median age of 36 years (range, 19-83 years), and 57% were women. About half of patients had stage I-II disease (53%). Most patients (60%) had refractory disease, but 23% had relapsed disease, and 17% had both relapsed and refractory disease.

Patients had received a median of 2 prior lines of therapy (range, 2-5). All had received prior rituximab, and 13% had received an autologous stem cell transplant.

In all, 29 patients received nivolumab plus brentuximab vedotin. One patient received brentuximab vedotin but discontinued prior to the first dose of nivolumab.

The objective response rate was 73%, and the complete response rate was 37%. The median duration of response was 31.6 months, and the median duration of complete response was not reached.

The median progression-free survival was 26.0 months. The progression-free survival rate was 56% at both 12 months and 24 months.

The median overall survival was not reached. The overall survival rate was 79% at 12 months and 76% at 24 months.

None of the patients were still on study treatment at last follow-up. Thirteen patients discontinued treatment because they had achieved maximum clinical benefit, and 12 of these patients went on to receive a stem cell transplant. Eight patients discontinued because of disease progression.

The majority of patients (83%) had treatment-related adverse events (AEs), and 53% had grade 3/4 AEs. The most common treatment-related AEs of any grade were neutropenia (30%) and peripheral neuropathy (27%).

Treatment-related AEs leading to discontinuation occurred in 20% of patients. The most common of these was peripheral neuropathy.

There were 8 deaths on study, 5 of them due to disease progression. No deaths were considered related to treatment.

Disclosures: This research was supported by Bristol Myers Squibb and Seagen, Inc. Some study authors declared affiliations with biotech, pharmaceutical, and/or device companies. Please see the original reference for a full list of disclosures.

Read more of Cancer Therapy Advisor’s coverage of SOHO 2021 by visiting the conference page.


  1. Zinzani PL, Santoro A, Gritti G, et al. CheckMate 436: extended follow-up form the phase 2 study investigating nivolumab plus brentuximab vedotin for relapsed/refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma. Paper presented at: Annual Meeting of the Society of Hematologic Oncology (SOHO); September 8-11, 2021.
  2. Zinzani PL, Santoro A, Gritti G, et al. Nivolumab combined with brentuximab vedotin for relapsed/refractory primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma: Efficacy and safety from the phase II Checkmate 436 study. J Clin Oncol. 2019;37(33):3081-3089. doi:10.1200/JCO.19.01492