After initial clinical staging for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), patients with obvious stage III or IV disease, bulky disease (defined as a 10 cm mass or mediastinal disease with a transverse diameter exceeding 33% of the transthoracic diameter), or the presence of B symptoms will require combination chemotherapy with or without additional radiation therapy.
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Patients with nonbulky stage IA or IIA disease are considered to have clinical early-stage disease. These patients are candidates for chemotherapy, combined modality therapy, or radiation therapy alone. Staging laparotomy is no longer recommended because it may not alter management and does not enhance ultimate outcome. When chemotherapy alone or combined modality therapy is applied, laparotomy is not required.
In adult HL, the appropriate dose of radiation alone is 25 Gy to 30 Gy to clinically uninvolved sites and 35 Gy to 44 Gy to regions of initial nodal involvement.[3,4,5,6] These recommendations are often modified in pediatric or advanced-staged adult patients who also receive chemotherapy. Treatment is usually delivered to the neck, chest, and axilla (mantle field) and then to an abdominal field to treat para-aortic nodes and the spleen (splenic pedicle). In some patients, pelvic nodes are treated with a third field. The three fields constitute total nodal radiation therapy. In some cases, the pelvic and para-aortic nodes are treated in a single field called an inverted Y. In patients with a favorable prognosis, treatment of the pelvic lymph nodes is frequently omitted, since fertility can be preserved without affecting relapse-free survival. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Sexuality and Reproductive Issues for more information on fertility.)
Acute nonlymphocytic leukemia may occur in patients treated with combined modality therapy or with combination chemotherapy alone.[7,8,9] At 10 years following therapy with regimens containing MOPP, the risk of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is approximately 3%, with the peak incidence occurring 5 to 9 years after therapy. The risk of acute leukemia at 10 years following therapy with ABVD appears to be less than 1%. A population-based study of more than 35,000 survivors during a 30-year time span identified 217 patients who developed AML; the excess absolute risk is significantly higher (9.9 vs. 4.2 after 1984, P < .001) for older patients (i.e., >35 years at diagnosis) versus younger survivors.
An increase in second solid tumors has also been observed, especially cancers of the lung, breast, thyroid, bone/soft tissue, stomach, esophagus, colon and rectum, uterine cervix, head and neck, and mesothelioma.[8,11,12,13,14,15,16] These tumors occur primarily after radiation therapy or with combined modality treatment, and approximately 75% occur within radiation ports. At a 15-year follow-up, the risk of second solid tumors is approximately 13%;[8,12] at a 20-year follow-up, the risk is approximately 17%; and at a 25-year follow-up, the risk is approximately 22%.[11,18] In a cohort of 18,862 5-year survivors from 13 population-based registries, the younger patients had elevated risks for breast, colon, and rectal cancer for 10 to 25 years before the age when routine screening would be recommended in the general population. Even with involved-field doses of 15 Gy to 25 Gy, sarcomas, breast cancers, and thyroid cancers occurred with similar incidence in young patients receiving higher-dose radiation.