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Clin Sarcoma Res. 2012 Jan 9;2(1):1. doi: 10.1186/2045-3329-2-1.

An increased incidence of Hodgkin's lymphoma in patients with adult-onset sarcoma.

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  • 1Sarcoma Genomics and Genetics Laboratory, Research Division, The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, East Melbourne, VIC, Australia.



Sarcomas are rare, often fatal malignancies of connective tissues that can occur in genetic predisposition syndromes or result from carcinogen exposure. Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL) is not known to contribute to any recognised familial cancer syndrome comprising sarcomas, but is known to be associated with a variety of second cancers, including sarcomas. This study describes the prevalence of HL in families affected by sarcoma.


The International Sarcoma Kindred Study (ISKS) is a prospective cohort of 561 families ascertained via a proband with adult-onset sarcoma. Cancer-specific standardised incidence ratios (SIR) for multiple primary malignancies in probands were estimated. Clinical characteristics of individuals reporting both sarcoma and HL were described. Standardised incidence ratios for the occurrence of cancer in ISKS families were also estimated.


Multiple primary cancers were reported in 16% of probands, significantly higher than in the general population. The risk of HL in probands was increased 15.8-fold (95%CI 7.9-31.6) and increased risks were also seen for breast cancer (SIR 2.9, 95%CI 1.9-4.4) and thyroid cancer (SIR 8.4, 95%CI 4.2-16.8). In 8 probands with both HL and sarcoma, the diagnosis of HL preceded that of sarcoma in 7 cases, and occurred synchronously in one case. Only 3 cases of sarcoma occurred in or close to prior radiotherapy fields. The overall incidence of HL in the ISKS cohort was not significantly increased by comparison with age- and gender-specific population estimates (SIR 1.63, 95%CI 1.05-2.43), suggesting that the association between HL and sarcomas did not extend to other family members. The age of onset of non-sarcoma, non-HL cancers in families affected by both HL and sarcoma was younger than the general population (56.2 y vs 65.6 y, P < 0.0001).


The basis for the association between HL and sarcomas may include the carcinogenic effects of therapy combined with excellent survival rates for HL. Common risk factors for both may also exist, including both environmental and heritable factors.

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