New lines of research currently aim to see how effective targeted therapies are for HL. The targeted therapy used to treat HL uses the so-called monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies make our immune system's antibodies attack the cancer cells, thus causing their destruction.
The first monoclonal antibody approved for use in HL is brentuximab vedotin, which targets the molecule CD30 found on the surface of all HL tumor cells. It is given intravenously every 21 days. It may cause changes in the sensitivity of the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy), and when given in combination with other chemotherapy treatments such as bleomycin, it can cause pulmonary toxicity presenting as inflammation or pneumonitis, which is why it is not indicated to be given together.
Another monoclonal antibody used for HL is rituximab, which is an antibody that targets the molecule CD20 found on the surface of B lymphocytes accompanying HL, thereby interfering in the tumor microenvironment. It is primarily used in nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma when standard treatment has failed to control the disease completely or when the disease comes back after initial treatment. Sometimes, R-S cells can express CD20 on their surface, although this is not common. In such cases, rituximab can also be used in combination with chemotherapy.