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Role of Chemotherapy in Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Seam, Pamela MD*; Janik, John E. MD*; Longo, Dan L. MD; DeVita, Vincent T. Jr MD

doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e3181a27018
Special Issue on Hodgkin's Lymphoma: Original Article

The development of curative chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) is one of the true success stories in oncology. Most patients diagnosed with HL today can be cured. The major task remaining before us is curing as many patients as possible with their initial therapeutic approach while minimizing the acute toxicities and limiting the lifetime risks of important secondary events such as cardiovascular complications and secondary malignancies. In the 40 years since DeVita et al. developed the mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone chemotherapy regimen, we have learned a great deal about risk stratification to minimize treatment-related toxicity. Positron emission tomography may further assist us in reducing radiation treatment without compromising cures. This review will discuss the development of the chemotherapy regimens used in the management of early and advanced stage HL and the advantages and disadvantages of their use in combination with radiation therapy.

From the *Clinical Trials Team, Metabolism Branch, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD; †Clinical Research Branch, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD; and ‡Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven CT.

Supported in part by the Intramural Research Program of the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.

Reprints: John E. Janik, MD, Building 10CRC, Room 4-5330, 9000, Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD 20892-1457. E-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.