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Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2002 Sep 1;54(1):1-8.

Pediatric Hodgkin's disease--up, up, and beyond.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University Medical Center, 300 Pasteur Drive, Rm. A083, Stanford, CA 94305-5302, USA.


Juan A. del Regato, 1909-1999, was a superb clinician-educator who recognized the radiocurability of Hodgkin's disease but questioned treatment without late effects, particularly in children. The remarkable progress in pediatric Hodgkin's disease today is a tribute to this influential pioneer, who served as a role model to many. Combined modality therapy using low-dose, involved-field radiation and multiagent chemotherapy today results in a 5-year relative survival rate of 94% among American children with Hodgkin's disease. However, several areas hold promise for future advances, including a new pathology classification and biology studies that distinguish classic Hodgkin's disease from other lymphomas; new noninvasive staging techniques, including 18F-fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography; the definition of risk groups to segregate low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups on the basis of a prognostic index, facilitating risk-adapted therapy; and myeloablative therapy followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Currently used for children with relapse, it is associated with a 5-year survival of 65% and should be considered as the initial therapy for high-risk groups. Idiopathic diffuse pulmonary toxicity after autologous transplantation is high among children with an atopic history; thus, atopy should be considered when selecting children appropriate for transplantation. Finally, novel therapies, such as the anti-CD20 antibody, rituximab, may be useful for children with CD20+, lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin's disease. The universal goal of cure without late effects is realistic for almost all children with Hodgkin's disease today.

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