We investigated the feasibility and activity of an intensified dose-dense ABVD (dd-ABVD) regimen in patients with early-stage unfavorable Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). This prospective, multicenter, phase II study enrolled 96 patients with newly diagnosed, unfavorable stage I or II classical HL. The patients received four cycles of dd-ABVD followed by radiotherapy. Interim PET (PET-2) was mandatory after two courses. Primary endpoints were the evaluation of dd-ABVD feasibility and activity (incidence of PET-2 negativity). The feasibility endpoint was achieved with 48/52 (92.3%) patients receiving > 85% of the programmed dose. The mean dose intensity in the overall patient population (n = 96) was 93.7%, and the median duration of dd-ABVD was 85 days (range, 14–115) versus an expected duration of 84 days. PET-2 was available for 92/96 (95.8%) patients, of whom 79 were PET-2 negative (85.9%). In total, 90 (93.8%) patients showed complete response at the end of treatment. With a follow-up of 80.9 months (3.3–103.2), the median progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS) were not reached. At 84 months, PFS and OS rates were 88.4% and 95.7%, respectively. No evidence for a difference in PFS or OS was observed for PET-2-negative and PET-2-positive patients. Infections were documented in 8.3% and febrile neutropenia in 6.2% of cases. Four patients died: one had alveolitis at cycle 3, one death was unrelated to treatment, and two died from a secondary cancer. dd-ABVD is feasible and demonstrates activity in early-stage unfavorable HL. The predictive role of PET-2 positivity in early-stage unfavorable HL remains controversial. The study was registered in the EudraCT (reference number, 2011–003,191-36) and the ClinicalTrials.gov (reference number, NCT02247869) databases. © 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.