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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Sep 1;23(25):6181-9.

Salvage therapy of progressive and recurrent Hodgkin's disease: results from a multicenter study of the pediatric DAL/GPOH-HD study group.

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  • 1Universitätsklinikum Münster, Kinderklinik, Pädiatrische Hämatologie und Onkologie, Albert-Schweitzer-Strasse 33, D-48129 Münster, Germany.



To evaluate a salvage therapy (ST-HD-86) for patients with progressive and relapsed Hodgkin's disease after primary treatment in the pediatric DAL/GPOH studies. The essential chemotherapeutic regimens were ifosfamide, etoposide, and prednisone (IEP) and doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD).


One hundred seventy-six patients with progression (n = 51) or first relapse (n = 125) were enrolled by 67 centers. The median time from initial diagnosis to progression/relapse was 1.1 year (range, 0.1 to 15.3 years), and the patients' median age was 14.7 years (range, 4.3 to 24.5 years). Salvage chemotherapy consisted of two to three cycles of IEP alternating with one to two cycles of ABVD supplemented in part by one to two cycles of cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone or lomustine (CCNU), etoposide, and prednimustine. Radiotherapy was given to involved areas using individualized doses. In the 1990s, additional high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem-cell transplantation (SCT) was introduced for patients with unfavorable prognosis.


Disease-free survival (DFS) and overall survival (OS) after 10 years are 62% and 75%, respectively (SE, 4% each). Of 176 patients, 73 suffered second events. The risk-factor analysis revealed the time to progression/relapse as the strongest prognostic factor (P = .0001). Patients with progression have an inferior outcome (DFS, 41%; OS, 51%), whereas patients with late relapse (> 12 months after end of therapy) do well (DFS, 86%; OS, 90%), although none of them received SCT in second remission.


The result can be considered favorable. Whereas the salvage strategy for progressive disease has to be optimized further, it is possible to reduce intensity and avoid SCT in late relapses after Hodgkin's disease in childhood/adolescence.

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