A trial looking at brentuximab for Hodgkin lymphoma (BREVITY)

Cancer type:

Blood cancers
Hodgkin lymphoma




Phase 2

This trial was for older, frail people or those with other health conditions who couldn’t have chemotherapy.

More about this trial

Chemotherapy is the usual treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. But some people are too unwell to have this type of treatment. For example, they might be too old or frail. Or they might have another medical condition which means they cannot have chemotherapy. Such as a heart or lung problem. 
Brentuximab vedotin (also known as Adcetris or SGN-35) is a targeted cancer drug called a monoclonal antibody Open a glossary item. These seek out cancer cells by looking for particular proteins. Brentuximab sticks to a protein called CD30 found on the surface of certain lymphoma cells. Brentuximab then delivers a drug to the cell, killing that cell.
We know from research that brentuximab works for people whose Hodgkin lymphoma came back after chemotherapy. In this study, researchers wanted to see how well it worked for people with Hodgkin lymphoma who couldn’t have chemotherapy. 
The aims of this trial were to:
  • find out how well treatment worked 
  • learn more about the side effects

Summary of results

The trial team found that brentuximab worked for people who weren’t well enough to have chemotherapy. But due to side effects, some had to have a lower dose or stop treatment altogether. 
35 people took part. Everyone had brentuximab. They had an average of 4 cycles of treatment. Everyone had a PET scan Open a glossary item  after 4 cycles of treatment. The researchers looked at whose:
  • lymphoma went away completely (a complete metabolic response)
  • lymphoma went away completely or a little bit (a complete metabolic response or a partial metabolic response)
 They found:
  • between 2 and 3 people out of 10 people (26%) had lymphoma that went away completely
  • just over 8 out of 10 people (84%) had lymphoma that went away completely or a little bit


Of the 35 people who took part:
  • 14 needed to have a lower dose due to side effects
  • 11 stopped treatment altogether due to side effects
Most of the side effects were mild. 26 people had at least 1 serious side effect. These included: 
  • infection
  • a drop in the number of white blood cells Open a glossary item
  • tingling or numbness in hands or feet
As expected, the side effects were worse in this group of people than in younger, fitter people. 
The trial team followed everyone up. When this analysis was done in March 2017, the cancer had got worse in 28 people. 
The trial team looked at how long people lived without any signs of their lymphoma getting worse (progression free survival). This was 7.4 months on average. 
The trial team are looking at how long people lived overall (overall survival). They hope to have this information available at the end of 2019.
The trial team found that brentuximab vedotin worked in some people who weren’t fit enough for chemotherapy. But it didn’t work as well as they had hoped. 
We have based this summary on information from the research team. The information they sent us has been reviewed by independent specialists (peer reviewed)  Open a glossary itembut may not have been published in a medical journal.  The figures we quote above were provided by the research team. We have not analysed the data ourselves.

Recruitment start:

Recruitment end:

How to join a clinical trial

Please note: In order to join a trial you will need to discuss it with your doctor, unless otherwise specified.

Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Chief Investigator

Professor John Radford

Supported by

Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC)
NIHR Clinical Research Network: Cancer
University of Birmingham

If you have questions about the trial please contact our cancer information nurses

Freephone 0808 800 4040

Last review date

CRUK internal database number:


Please note - unless we state otherwise in the summary, you need to talk to your doctor about joining a trial.

Last reviewed:

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 5 out of 5 based on 1 vote
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think