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Cancer Health Center

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Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Stage Information for Adult Hodgkin Lymphoma

Table 2. Anatomic Stage/Prognostic Groupsa

StagePrognostic Groups
a Reprinted with permission from AJCC: Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 607-11.
IInvolvement of a single lymphatic site (i.e., nodal region, Waldeyer ring, thymus or spleen) (I).
Localized involvement of a single extralymphatic organ or site in the absence of any lymph node involvement (IE) (rare in Hodgkin lymphoma).
IIInvolvement of ≥2 lymph node regions on the same side of the diaphragm (II).
Localized involvement of a single extralymphatic organ or site in association with regional lymph node involvement with or without involvement of other lymph node regions on the same side of the diaphragm (IIE).
The number of regions involved may be indicated by an arabic numeral, as in, for example, II3.
IIIInvolvement of lymph node regions on both sides of the diaphragm (III), which also may be accompanied by extralymphatic extension in association with adjacent lymph node involvement (IIIE) or by involvement of the spleen (IIIS) or both (IIIE, S).
Splenic involvement is designated by the letter S.
IVDiffuse or disseminated involvement of one or more extralymphatic organs, with or without associated lymph node involvement.
Isolated extralymphatic organ involvement in the absence of adjacent regional lymph node involvement, but in conjunction with disease in distant site(s).
Stage IV includes any involvement of the liver or bone marrow, lungs (other than by direct extension from another site), or cerebrospinal fluid.

Massive mediastinal disease has been defined by the Cotswolds meeting as a thoracic ratio of maximum transverse mass diameter of 33% or more of the internal transverse thoracic diameter measured at the T5/6 intervertebral disc level on chest radiography.[1] Some investigators have designated a lymph node mass measuring 10 cm or more in greatest dimension as massive disease.[16] Other investigators use a measurement of the maximum width of the mediastinal mass divided by the maximum intrathoracic diameter.[17]

Many investigators and many new clinical trials employ a clinical staging system that divides patients into four major groups that are also useful for the practicing physician:[18]

  • Early favorable: Clinical stage I or II without any risk factors.
  • Early unfavorable: Clinical stage I or II with one or more of the following risk factors:
    • Large mediastinal mass (>33% of the thoracic width on the chest x-ray, ≥10 cm on CT scan).
    • Extranodal involvement.
    • Elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (>30 mm/h for B stage, >50 mm/h for A stage).
    • Three or more lymph node areas' involvement.
    • B symptoms.
  • Advanced favorable: Clinical stage III or IV with zero to three adverse risk factors listed below. Patients with advanced favorable disease have a 60% to 80% freedom-from-progression at 5 years from treatment with first-line chemotherapy.[19][Level of evidence: 3iiiDiii]
  • Advanced unfavorable: Clinical stage III or IV with four or more adverse risk factors listed below.[19] Patients with advanced unfavorable disease showed a 42% to 51% freedom-from-progression at 5 years from treatment with first-line chemotherapy.[19][Level of evidence: 3iiiDiii]. For patients with advanced-stage HL, the International Prognostic Factors Project has developed an International Prognostic Index with a prognostic score that is based on the following seven adverse factors:[19]
    • Albumin level of <4.0 g/dL.
    • Hemoglobin level of <10.5 g/dL.
    • Male sex.
    • Age of ≥45 years.
    • Stage IV disease.
    • White blood cell (WBC) count of ≥15,000/mm3.
    • Absolute lymphocytic count of <600/mm3 or a lymphocyte count that was <8% of the total WBC count.


  1. Lister TA, Crowther D, Sutcliffe SB, et al.: Report of a committee convened to discuss the evaluation and staging of patients with Hodgkin's disease: Cotswolds meeting. J Clin Oncol 7 (11): 1630-6, 1989.
  2. Jerusalem G, Beguin Y, Fassotte MF, et al.: Whole-body positron emission tomography using 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose compared to standard procedures for staging patients with Hodgkin's disease. Haematologica 86 (3): 266-73, 2001.
  3. Naumann R, Beuthien-Baumann B, Reiss A, et al.: Substantial impact of FDG PET imaging on the therapy decision in patients with early-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma. Br J Cancer 90 (3): 620-5, 2004.
  4. Munker R, Glass J, Griffeth LK, et al.: Contribution of PET imaging to the initial staging and prognosis of patients with Hodgkin's disease. Ann Oncol 15 (11): 1699-704, 2004.
  5. Gallamini A, Hutchings M, Rigacci L, et al.: Early interim 2-[18F]fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose positron emission tomography is prognostically superior to international prognostic score in advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma: a report from a joint Italian-Danish study. J Clin Oncol 25 (24): 3746-52, 2007.
  6. Kobe C, Dietlein M, Franklin J, et al.: Positron emission tomography has a high negative predictive value for progression or early relapse for patients with residual disease after first-line chemotherapy in advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma. Blood 112 (10): 3989-94, 2008.
  7. Terasawa T, Lau J, Bardet S, et al.: Fluorine-18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography for interim response assessment of advanced-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma: a systematic review. J Clin Oncol 27 (11): 1906-14, 2009.
  8. Gallamini A, Kostakoglu L: Interim FDG-PET in Hodgkin lymphoma: a compass for a safe navigation in clinical trials? Blood 120 (25): 4913-20, 2012.
  9. El-Galaly TC, d'Amore F, Mylam KJ, et al.: Routine bone marrow biopsy has little or no therapeutic consequence for positron emission tomography/computed tomography-staged treatment-naive patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. J Clin Oncol 30 (36): 4508-14, 2012.
  10. Urba WJ, Longo DL: Hodgkin's disease. N Engl J Med 326 (10): 678-87, 1992.
  11. Sombeck MD, Mendenhall NP, Kaude JV, et al.: Correlation of lymphangiography, computed tomography, and laparotomy in the staging of Hodgkin's disease. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 25 (3): 425-9, 1993.
  12. Mauch P, Larson D, Osteen R, et al.: Prognostic factors for positive surgical staging in patients with Hodgkin's disease. J Clin Oncol 8 (2): 257-65, 1990.
  13. Dietrich PY, Henry-Amar M, Cosset JM, et al.: Second primary cancers in patients continuously disease-free from Hodgkin's disease: a protective role for the spleen? Blood 84 (4): 1209-15, 1994.
  14. Carbone PP, Kaplan HS, Musshoff K, et al.: Report of the Committee on Hodgkin's Disease Staging Classification. Cancer Res 31 (11): 1860-1, 1971.
  15. Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas. In: Edge SB, Byrd DR, Compton CC, et al., eds.: AJCC Cancer Staging Manual. 7th ed. New York, NY: Springer, 2010, pp 607-11.
  16. Bradley AJ, Carrington BM, Lawrance JA, et al.: Assessment and significance of mediastinal bulk in Hodgkin's disease: comparison between computed tomography and chest radiography. J Clin Oncol 17 (8): 2493-8, 1999.
  17. Mauch P, Goodman R, Hellman S: The significance of mediastinal involvement in early stage Hodgkin's disease. Cancer 42 (3): 1039-45, 1978.
  18. Jost LM, Stahel RA; ESMO Guidelines Task Force.: ESMO Minimum Clinical Recommendations for diagnosis, treatment and follow-up of Hodgkin's disease. Ann Oncol 16 (Suppl 1): i54-5, 2005.
  19. Hasenclever D, Diehl V: A prognostic score for advanced Hodgkin's disease. International Prognostic Factors Project on Advanced Hodgkin's Disease. N Engl J Med 339 (21): 1506-14, 1998.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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