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J Clin Oncol. 2005 Sep 10;23(26):6400-8.

State-of-the-art therapeutics: Hodgkin's lymphoma.

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British Columbia Cancer Agency, 600 W 10 Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada.


Presently Hodgkin's lymphoma can be cured in at least 80% of patients. The major challenge to the clinician in 2005 is how to cure the disease while inducing the least irreversible toxicity. This review focuses on clinical trials and institutional experiences to identify the best choice of treatment, individualized to the stage of the lymphoma permitting minimization of late toxicity such as infertility, premature menopause, cardiac disease, and most importantly, risk of second neoplasms. More than 90% of patients with limited Hodgkin's lymphoma can be cured with either short-course chemotherapy alone or even briefer chemotherapy followed by involved-field radiation. Accumulating evidence suggests that chemotherapy alone is suitable for the large majority of patients with limited disease. For the 80% of patients with advanced disease but without a large number of adverse prognostic factors, standard multi-agent chemotherapy with the well-established ABVD regimen (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) provides the best balance of effectiveness and minimization of toxicity. More intensified regimens currently under investigation are appropriate for the 20% with numerous adverse prognostic factors. In 2005 it is insufficient to focus solely on cure of Hodgkin's lymphoma. The treatment program must maximize chance of cure and minimize late toxicity. Fortunately, brief chemotherapy alone or with radiation for patients with limited disease and standard ABVD chemotherapy for patients with advanced disease offer the appropriate balance of these two requirements. Patients with advanced disease plus multiple indicators of a poor prognosis and patients with disease that persists despite optimized primary treatment require specially intensified treatment.

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