Indexed on: 09 Aug '06Published on: 09 Aug '06Published in: Current opinion in oncology
Excellent results have been achieved in the treatment of early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma for more than 30 years with radiation therapy alone or the combined modalities of radiotherapy and chemotherapy. A major concern has been the long-term toxicity of treatment, most of which is attributable to radiotherapy. Recent trials that attempt to decrease acute and long-term toxicity are reviewed.To address the problem of late treatment morbidity, randomized trials of combined-modality therapy have been conducted demonstrating that the number of chemotherapy cycles and the extent and doses of radiotherapy can be reduced. Several studies, including three randomized trials of chemotherapy alone vs. combined-modality therapy, suggest that chemotherapy alone is a reasonable option for the treatment of nonbulky early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma. Positron emission tomography after one or two cycles of chemotherapy has been found to be highly predictive of treatment outcome for Hodgkin lymphoma. Combination chemotherapy alone including gemcitabine, a highly active drug with a favorable toxicity profile, with positron emission tomography early during treatment is under evaluation.Less toxic regimens with the aid of positron emission tomography may reduce the short-term and long-term toxicities of treatment of early-stage nonbulky Hodgkin lymphoma.