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


EBV serologic status is not a prognostic factor for failure-free survival in pediatric and young adult Hodgkin lymphoma patients.[10,13,14,15,17] Patients with a prior history of serologically confirmed infectious mononucleosis have a fourfold increased risk of developing EBV-positive Hodgkin lymphoma; these patients are not at increased risk for EBV-negative Hodgkin lymphoma.[18]

Immunodeficiency and Hodgkin lymphoma

Among individuals with immunodeficiency, the risk of Hodgkin lymphoma is increased, although not as high as the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Characteristics of Hodgkin lymphoma presenting in the context of immunodeficiency are as follows:

  • Hodgkin lymphoma usually occurs at a younger age and with histologies other than nodular sclerosing in patients with primary immunodeficiencies.[19]
  • The risk of Hodgkin lymphoma increases as much as 50-fold over the general population in patients with autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome.[20]
  • Although it is not an AIDS-defining malignancy, the incidence of Hodgkin lymphoma appears to be increased in HIV-infected individuals, including children.[21,22]

Clinical Presentation

The following presenting features of Hodgkin lymphoma result from direct or indirect effects of nodal or extranodal involvement and/or constitutional symptoms related to cytokine release from Reed-Sternberg cells.

  • Approximately 80% of patients present with painless adenopathy, most commonly involving the supraclavicular or cervical area.
  • Mediastinal disease is present in about 75% of adolescents and young adults and may be asymptomatic. In contrast, only about 35% of young children with Hodgkin lymphoma have mediastinal presentation, in part, reflecting the tendency of these patients to have either mixed cellularity or lymphocyte-predominant histology.
  • Approximately 20% of patients will have bulky adenopathy (maximum mediastinal diameter one-third of the chest diameter or greater and/or a node or nodal aggregate larger than 10 cm).
  • Based on data from large cooperative group cohorts, 80% to 85% of children and adolescents with Hodgkin lymphoma have involvement of lymph nodes and/or the spleen only (stages I–III).
  • The remaining 15% to 20% of patients will have noncontiguous extranodal involvement (stage IV). The most common sites of extranodal involvement are the lung, liver, bones, and bone marrow.[23,24]
  • Nonspecific constitutional symptoms including fatigue, anorexia, weight loss, pruritus, night sweats, and fever occur in approximately 25% of patients.[23,24]
  • Only three specific constitutional (B) symptoms have been correlated with prognosis—unexplained fever (temperature above 38.0°C orally), unexplained weight loss (10% of body weight within the 6 months preceding diagnosis), and drenching night sweats.[25]

Prognostic Factors

As the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma has improved, factors that are associated with outcome have become more difficult to identify. Several factors, however, continue to influence the success and choice of therapy. These factors are interrelated in the sense that disease stage, bulk, and biologic aggressiveness are frequently codependent. Further complicating the identification of prognostic factors is their use in determining the aggressiveness of therapy. For example, in a report from the German-Austrian Pediatric multicenter trial DAL-HD-90, bulky disease was not a prognostic factor for outcome on multivariate analysis. However, in this study, boost irradiation doses were given to patients who had postchemotherapy residual disease, which could have obfuscated the relevance of bulky disease at presentation.[26] This underscores the complexity in determining prognostic factors.


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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