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


Lung cancer is seen with increased frequency, even after chemotherapy alone, and the risk of this cancer is increased with cigarette smoking.[19,20,21,22] Breast cancer is seen with increased frequency after radiation therapy or combined modality therapy.[11,13,15,23,24,25,26] The risk appears greatest for women treated with radiation before age 30 years, and the incidence increases substantially after 15 years of follow-up.[11,14,27,28,29] In a case control study of 106 patients who developed breast cancer after therapy for HL, cumulative absolute risks for developing breast cancer were calculated as a function of radiation therapy dose and the use of chemotherapy.[30] With a 30-year follow-up, cumulative absolute risks of breast cancer with exposure to radiation range from 8.5% to 39.6%, depending on the age at diagnosis. A family history of breast cancer or ovarian cancer does not confer a greater increased risk than that of radiation therapy for this cohort.[31] In a nested case control study and subsequent cohort study, patients who received both chemotherapy and radiation therapy had a statistically significant lower risk of developing breast cancer than those treated with radiation therapy alone.[24,32] Reaching early menopause with less than 10 years of intact ovarian function appeared to account for the reduction in risk among patients who received combined modality therapy.[32] Reduction of radiation volume also decreased the risk of breast cancer after HL.[32] The risk of non-HL is also increased, but this risk is not clearly related to type or extent of treatment.[12]

Several studies suggest that splenic-field radiation therapy and splenectomy increase the risk of a treatment-related second cancer.[33,34,35] Late effects after autologous stem cell transplantation that is given for failure of induction chemotherapy include second malignancies, hypothyroidism, hypogonadism, herpes zoster, depression, and cardiac disease.[36]

Adverse Effects of Therapy

A toxic effect that is primarily related to chemotherapy is infertility, usually after MOPP-containing or BEACOPP-containing regimens;[12,37,38,39] ABVD appears to spare long-term testicular and ovarian function.[38,40] Late complications primarily related to radiation therapy include hypothyroidism and cardiac disease, which may persist through to 25 years after first treatment.[41,42,43,44,45,46] The absolute excess risk of fatal cardiovascular disease ranges from 11.9 to 48.9 per 10,000 patient years and is mostly attributable to fatal myocardial infarction (MI).[42,43,44,46] The use of subcarinal blocking did not reduce the incidence of fatal MI in a retrospective review, perhaps because of the exposure of the proximal coronary arteries to radiation.[43] In a cohort of 7,033 HL patients, MI mortality risk persisted through to 25 years after first treatment with supradiaphragmatic radiation therapy (dependent on the details of treatment planning), doxorubicin, or vincristine.[46] HL patients treated with mediastinal radiation compared with a normal-matched population have been reported to be at increased risk with the use of cardiac procedures.[47] Impairment of pulmonary function may occur as a result of mantle-field radiation therapy; this impairment is not usually clinically evident, and recovery in pulmonary testing often occurs after 2 to 3 years.[48] Pulmonary toxic effects from bleomycin as used in ABVD are seen in older patients (especially those older than 40 years).[49] Avascular necrosis of bone has been observed in patients treated with chemotherapy and is most likely related to corticosteroid therapy.[50] Bacterial sepsis may occur rarely after splenectomy performed during staging laparotomy for HL;[51] it is much more frequent in children than in adults. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that all patients with HL, whether or not they have had a splenectomy, should be immunized with Haemophilusinfluenzae type b conjugate, meningococcal, and pneumococcal vaccines at least 1 week before treatment.[52] Some investigators recommend reimmunization with all three vaccines 2 years after completion of treatment and with pneumococcal vaccine every 6 years thereafter.[53]


WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
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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