Taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice for some Hodgkin lymphoma patients. Clinical trials are under way to develop treatments that increase the remission rate of or cure the disease. Today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society continues to invest funds in HL research.
Click here to read more about clinical trials.
Current Hodgkin Lymphoma Research and Clinical Trials
Below are some of the types of Hodgkin lymphoma research and trials under way:
Biomarkers and Genetic Causes. Studies are under way to identify biological markers, or “biomarkers,” which are high levels of substances released by cancer cells. Biomarkers can be used to get information about the presence and level of cancer cells.
Studies of familial HL are under way to obtain a better understanding of the genetic causes of HL. The goal is to identify genetic changes. This information may help doctors predict a person’s risk of developing HL.
Interim PET-CT as Decision Tool for Chemotherapy Adjustment. Recent studies comparing different chemotherapy regimens such as ABVD and BEACOPP have led to new challenges to identify clinical or biological prognostic factors that may help doctors recognize those patients who will benefit most from more intensive treatment. Further studies are under way to address the challenges of using PET and combined PET-CT scans to assess the benefits of specific (risk-adapted) therapies for individual patients.
Long-Term and Late Effects of Treatment. There is considerable interest in studying the use of chemotherapy alone (without radiation therapy) for the treatment of patients with early-stage HL. Several studies have been conducted with results suggesting chemotherapy alone is a viable approach.
Relapsed or Refractory Hodgkin Lymphoma. Several chemotherapy regimens, with and without targeted therapies, are being studied for effectiveness and safety in advanced, relapsed or refractory disease.
Programmed Death (PD-1) Checkpoint Inhibitors. A vital part of the immune system is its ability to tell between healthy cells in the body and those that it recognizes as foreign or harmful. The immune system depends on multiple checkpoints—molecules on certain immune cells that need to be activated (or turned off) in order to start an immune response. Cancer cells sometimes take advantage of these checkpoints to escape the detection of active immune cells. Checkpoint inhibitors are drugs that allow the immune system to recognize and eliminate cancer cells.
Two checkpoint inhibitor drugs nivolumab (now FDA approved) and pembrolizumab have shown great results in other cancers such as melanoma. They are now being studied (as single agents and in combination with other drugs) in clinical trials for the treatment of advanced Hodgkin lymphoma.
Quality-of-Life Studies. Investigators are gathering information on long-term or late effects among survivors who were treated over the past 30 years. The goal is to provide less toxic treatments for people who are diagnosed in the future, while maintaining or improving the cure rates of standard therapy. This information will also be used to propose guidelines for long-term follow-up care for survivors. Study participants may be asked to complete questionnaires about their health and quality of life (such as energy level, outlook on life and any long-term physical effects of the disease).
We encourage you to contact our Information Specialists for more information about specific treatments under study in clinical trials.
- Download or order The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's free booklet, Hodgkin Lymphoma.