Pediatric Hodgkin lymphoma patients treated with ABVD chemotherapy with or without low-dose radiation therapy

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The ABVD protocol is probably the most effective chemotherapy (CTX) regimen for the treatment of Hodgkin Lymphoma (HL), however the dose and volume, and indeed the need for radiation therapy (XRT) in combination remains uncertain. Pediatric patients (0–14 years) at our institution have been treated with ABVD either with or without XRT, based on the treating physician’s decision. Patients receiving XRT were usually given one or two cycles less of CTX than those without. Since 1998 we have used 1500cGy as the dose of XRT, however the field was determined by the radiation oncologist. Between 1990 and 2003, 152 patients were treated according to the ABVD protocol. Of these, 64 were treated with CTX alone, while 88 also received radiation as consolidation therapy (Combined modality therapy; CMT). Of those who received XRT 63 were administered a dose of 1500cGy. The remaining 25 received various higher doses (1655cGy: 1, 2400cGy: 9, 2500cGy: 10, 3500cGy: 3, 3680cGy: 1, 3980cGy:1). Patients who were treated with CMT were older (mean age 9.2 v. 7.4 years; p<0.05), had less B-symptoms (10.2% v. 26.6%; p<0.05), but not more bulky disease (43.2% v. 34.4%; p=0.2). CTX group had more patients with stage III and IV disease, while CMT group had more stage II disease (p<0.05). With a median follow-up of 4 years, the actuarial overall survival (OS) and event free survival (EFS) at 5 years for all the patients is 97.3% and 88.0%, respectively. The OS and EFS for the patients treated with CTX and CMT were 95.3% v. 98.8% (p=0.4) and 85.1% v. 90.2% (p=0.3), respectively. We next looked at the patients who received only 1500cGy of radiation therapy. Of the 63 patients, 29 received extended field radiation (EFXRT) and 34 involved field radiation (IFXRT). Patients who received radiation were administered a median of two cycles of ABVD less than those who did not (median 4 v. 6 cycles; mean 4.3 v. 5.1, p<0.05). OS at 5 years for the patients treated by CTX v. CMT/EFXRT v. CMT/IFXRT is 95.3%, 96.6% and 100%, respectively (p=0.3). The EFS for the same groups is 85.1%, 86.2% and 90.1% (p=0.4).
Conclusion: Pediatric patients with HL can be treated successfully with minimal or no XRT. These results need to be confirmed in a prospective clinical trial.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University

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