Hodgkin's Lymphoma Treatment Can Lead to Secondary Disease

Nearly 1 in 4 patients treated in childhood for Hodgkin's lymphoma developed a second type of cancer within 30 years.

Nearly 1 in 4 patients treated in childhood for Hodgkin's lymphoma developed a second type of cancer within 30 years.

While effective treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma have led to more people surviving the disease, these treatments can cause secondary disease for patients later in life.

A study published in a recent issue of the German journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt International noted that approximately 150 children and adolescents are diagnosed annually in Germany with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, while 9 out of every 10 patients survive. A common treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma is both chemotherapy and radiotherapy, however, survivors of the disease may develop late sequelae depending on the type of treatment they receive.

The study evaluated which treatments are more likely to be proceeded by the development of secondary malignant neoplasia. The researchers then quantified the risk of secondary disease as a function of the treatment.

The development of secondary disease was found to be dependent on which combination of agents were used and the intensity of treatment. The study noted that some patients treated later with radiotherapy go on to develop malignant neoplasms due to the treatment, for example.

The study found that 1 in every 4 to 5 patients who were treated for the disease in childhood or adolescence developed a second type of cancer within 30 years of treatment.

The researchers concluded the findings indicate patients should be notified about the potential for late sequelae from treatment, and as a result should receive regular follow-up. It was also noted that radiotherapy in young patients should be given at lesser doses or avoided entirely.