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Cancer. 1981 Sep 1;48(5):1245-50.

Osteonecrosis in patients with malignant lymphoma: a review of twenty-five cases.


A retrospective study of 25 patients with malignant lymphoma who had osteonecrosis of either the femoral or humeral head(s) was undertaken. The common factor present among all patients was the administration of intermittent steroid-containing combination chemotherapy. Seventeen Hodgkin's disease patients received chemotherapy predominantly consisting of an alkylating agent, vincristine, procarbazine, and moderate amounts of prednisone. The non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients were on various moderate dosage steroid-containing protocols, except three who received prolonged high-dose steroid-containing chemotherapy regimens. Sixteen of the 17 Hodgkin's disease patients and five of the eight non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients received radiotherapy to the bones that subsequently developed osteonecrosis. Two of the three non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients who were not irradiated were treated with high-dose steroid-containing chemotherapy regimens. Symptoms developed in patients 12 months and 32 months after completion of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, respectively. Osteonecrosis was a long-term complication of treatment between 1970 and 1979 and occurred in 1.6% of the Hodgkin's disease and 0.12% of the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients treated. The authors conclude that the patients at highest risk for this complication are those who receive both radiotherapy to the affected bone(s) and intermittent steroid-containing multiple drug chemotherapy.

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