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Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Diagnosis and Staging

Table 2. Criteria Used for the Classification of Risk Groups in Childhood Hodgkin Lymphoma Clinical Trialsa continued...

End of chemotherapy response assessment

Restaging is carried out upon the completion of all planned initial chemotherapy and may be used to determine the need for consolidative radiation therapy. Key concepts to consider include the following:

  • Defining complete response.
    • Although complete response can be defined as absence of disease by clinical examination and/or imaging studies, complete response in Hodgkin lymphoma trials is often defined by a greater than 70% to 80% reduction of disease and a change from initial positivity to negativity on functional imaging.[26] This definition is necessary in Hodgkin lymphoma because fibrotic residual disease is common, particularly in the mediastinum. In some studies, such patients are designated as having an unconfirmed complete response.
    • The definition of complete response varies by protocol/cooperative group. GPOH studies use very stringent criteria of at least 95% reduction in tumor volume or less than 2 mL residual volume on CT. Consideration of this difference in complete response criteria compared with that used in North American protocols is an important consideration for the omission of radiation therapy, which is stipulated in GPOH trials among favorable-risk patients achieving these strict complete-response criteria.[3]
  • Timing of PET scanning after completing therapy.
    • Timing of PET scanning after completing therapy is an important issue. For patients treated with chemotherapy alone, PET scanning should be performed a minimum of 3 weeks after the completion of therapy, while patients whose last treatment modality was radiation therapy should not undergo PET scanning until 8 to 12 weeks postradiation.[27]
  • Use of anatomic and functional imaging to assess response.
    • Response assessment using anatomic and functional imaging appears to be superior to that of anatomic imaging alone.
    • A review of the revised International Workshop Criteria comparing Hodgkin lymphoma response evaluation by CT imaging alone or CT together with PET imaging demonstrated that the combination of CT and PET imaging was more accurate than CT imaging alone.[27,28] While the International Harmonization for assessment of FDG-PET response has been attempted in adults, it has yet to be evaluated in pediatric populations.[29,30]
    • A Children's Oncology Group study evaluated surveillance CT and detection of relapse in intermediate-stage and advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma. The majority of relapses occurred within the first year after therapy or were detected based on symptoms, laboratory, or physical findings. The method of detection of late relapse, whether by imaging or clinical change, did not affect overall survival. Routine use of CT at the intervals used in this study did not improve outcome.[31]
    • Caution should be used in making the diagnosis of relapsed or refractory disease based solely on anatomic and functional imaging because false-positive results are not uncommon.[32,33,34,35,36] Consequently, pathologic confirmation of refractory/recurrent disease is recommended before modification of therapeutic plans.


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  17. Friedman DI, Wolden S, Constine L, et al.: AHOD0031: A phase III study of dose intensive therapy for intermediate risk Hodgkin lymphoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. [Abstract] Blood 116 (22): A-766, 2010.
  18. Keller FG, Nachman J, Constine L: A phase III study for the treatment of children and adolescents with newly diagnosed low risk Hodgkin lymphoma (HL). [Abstract] Blood 116 (21): A-767, 2010.
  19. Nachman JB, Sposto R, Herzog P, et al.: Randomized comparison of low-dose involved-field radiotherapy and no radiotherapy for children with Hodgkin's disease who achieve a complete response to chemotherapy. J Clin Oncol 20 (18): 3765-71, 2002.
  20. Kelly KM, Sposto R, Hutchinson R, et al.: BEACOPP chemotherapy is a highly effective regimen in children and adolescents with high-risk Hodgkin lymphoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. Blood 117 (9): 2596-603, 2011.
  21. Schwartz CL, Constine LS, Villaluna D, et al.: A risk-adapted, response-based approach using ABVE-PC for children and adolescents with intermediate- and high-risk Hodgkin lymphoma: the results of P9425. Blood 114 (10): 2051-9, 2009.
  22. Schellong G, Pötter R, Brämswig J, et al.: High cure rates and reduced long-term toxicity in pediatric Hodgkin's disease: the German-Austrian multicenter trial DAL-HD-90. The German-Austrian Pediatric Hodgkin's Disease Study Group. J Clin Oncol 17 (12): 3736-44, 1999.
  23. Dörffel W, Lüders H, Rühl U, et al.: Preliminary results of the multicenter trial GPOH-HD 95 for the treatment of Hodgkin's disease in children and adolescents: analysis and outlook. Klin Padiatr 215 (3): 139-45, 2003 May-Jun.
  24. Kung FH, Schwartz CL, Ferree CR, et al.: POG 8625: a randomized trial comparing chemotherapy with chemoradiotherapy for children and adolescents with Stages I, IIA, IIIA1 Hodgkin Disease: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 28 (6): 362-8, 2006.
  25. Weiner MA, Leventhal B, Brecher ML, et al.: Randomized study of intensive MOPP-ABVD with or without low-dose total-nodal radiation therapy in the treatment of stages IIB, IIIA2, IIIB, and IV Hodgkin's disease in pediatric patients: a Pediatric Oncology Group study. J Clin Oncol 15 (8): 2769-79, 1997.
  26. Molnar Z, Simon Z, Borbenyi Z, et al.: Prognostic value of FDG-PET in Hodgkin lymphoma for posttreatment evaluation. Long term follow-up results. Neoplasma 57 (4): 349-54, 2010.
  27. Cheson BD, Pfistner B, Juweid ME, et al.: Revised response criteria for malignant lymphoma. J Clin Oncol 25 (5): 579-86, 2007.
  28. Brepoels L, Stroobants S, De Wever W, et al.: Hodgkin lymphoma: Response assessment by revised International Workshop Criteria. Leuk Lymphoma 48 (8): 1539-47, 2007.
  29. Juweid ME, Stroobants S, Hoekstra OS, et al.: Use of positron emission tomography for response assessment of lymphoma: consensus of the Imaging Subcommittee of International Harmonization Project in Lymphoma. J Clin Oncol 25 (5): 571-8, 2007.
  30. Cheson BD: The International Harmonization Project for response criteria in lymphoma clinical trials. Hematol Oncol Clin North Am 21 (5): 841-54, 2007.
  31. Voss SD, Chen L, Constine LS, et al.: Surveillance computed tomography imaging and detection of relapse in intermediate- and advanced-stage pediatric Hodgkin's lymphoma: a report from the Children's Oncology Group. J Clin Oncol 30 (21): 2635-40, 2012.
  32. Nasr A, Stulberg J, Weitzman S, et al.: Assessment of residual posttreatment masses in Hodgkin's disease and the need for biopsy in children. J Pediatr Surg 41 (5): 972-4, 2006.
  33. Levine JM, Weiner M, Kelly KM: Routine use of PET scans after completion of therapy in pediatric Hodgkin disease results in a high false positive rate. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 28 (11): 711-4, 2006.
  34. Rhodes MM, Delbeke D, Whitlock JA, et al.: Utility of FDG-PET/CT in follow-up of children treated for Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol 28 (5): 300-6, 2006.
  35. Meany HJ, Gidvani VK, Minniti CP: Utility of PET scans to predict disease relapse in pediatric patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. Pediatr Blood Cancer 48 (4): 399-402, 2007.
  36. Picardi M, De Renzo A, Pane F, et al.: Randomized comparison of consolidation radiation versus observation in bulky Hodgkin's lymphoma with post-chemotherapy negative positron emission tomography scans. Leuk Lymphoma 48 (9): 1721-7, 2007.

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Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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