, Volume 88, Issue 9, pp 855-861
Date: 03 Feb 2009

The addition of radiotherapy to chemotherapy does not improve outcome of early stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients: a retrospective long-term follow-up analysis of a regional Italian experience

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Abstract

We retrospectively reviewed 139 stage I–II HL patients who were diagnosed and followed up in an Italian northern region (Liguria) from 1995 to 2007, and who received either chemotherapy (CT) alone (mainly doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine; ABVD) or a combined modality treatment (chemotherapy + radiotherapy, CT + RT). The two therapeutic groups were comparable for clinical and histologic features. Complete remission rate after CT + RT was higher than what was achieved with CT alone (96% vs. 84%, respectively, p = 0.03). Relapse rate (12%) was the same in both groups and disease-free survival curves were comparable (82% and 83%, p = 0.47). The overall survival of the two therapeutic groups is comparable. No second tumors have been reported among patients receiving chemotherapy alone, whereas a second neoplasia has been diagnosed in four patients (in two cases possibly radiotherapy related) in the CT + RT group (5%, p = 0.09) In conclusion, our retrospective study shows that CT + limited RT is an effective and well-tolerated option for early stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma, even if the use of RT is associated with a certain risk of developing a second tumor. However, four to six courses of ABVD can lead to similar, optimal, long-term disease control without exposing patients to the risk of a second neoplasia.