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J Clin Oncol. 1996 May;14(5):1442-6.

Risk of subsequent malignant neoplasms among 1,641 Hodgkin's disease patients diagnosed in childhood and adolescence: a population-based cohort study in the five Nordic countries. Association of the Nordic Cancer Registries and the Nordic Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology.

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  • 1Finnish Cancer Registry, Helsinki, Finland.



To assess the risk of subsequent malignant neoplasms among Hodgkin's disease patients diagnosed before 20 years of age in the five Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden).


There were 1,641 Hodgkin's disease patients identified through the national cancer registries since the 1940s or 1950s. The patients were monitored for 17,000 person-years until the end of 1991. Expected figures were derived from the age-specific incidence rates in each country and standardized incidence ratios (SIR) were calculated.


A total of 62 subsequent neoplasms were diagnosed (SIR, 7.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 5.9 to 9.9). The overall cumulative risk of subsequent neoplasms was 1.9% at the 10-year follow-up point, 6.9% at 20 years, and 18% at 30 years. There were 26 subsequent neoplasms among males (SIR, 6.5; 95% CI, 4.3 to 9.6) and 36 among females (SIR, 8.9; 95% CI, 6.2 to 12), of which 16 were breast cancers (SIR, 17; 95% CI, 9.9 to 28). High risks were seen for thyroid cancer (SIR, 33; 95% CI, 15 to 62), for secondary leukemia (SIR, 17; 95% CI, 6.9 to 35), and for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SIR, 15; 95% CI, 4.9 to 35). The relative risk increased from 3.3 (95% CI, 1.2 to 7.1) for Hodgkin's disease patients diagnosed in the 1940s and 1950s to 15 (95% CI, 7.4 to 27) in the 1980s. The highest risk of secondary leukemia (SIR, 68; 95% CI, 18 to 174) was seen among those diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease in the 1980s.


Patients who survive Hodgkin's disease at a young age are at very high relative risk of subsequent malignant neoplasms throughout their lives. In particular, the high relative risk of breast cancer following Hodgkin's disease in the teenage years calls for enhanced activity for early diagnosis.

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