Depending on a variety of prognostic factors including age, stage, laboratory abnormalities, and initial response to treatment, from 70% to 90% of patients with advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured with modern multiagent chemotherapy. Two effective strategies offer the promise to improve on those results. Early intensification of treatment, typically by increasing the doses and frequency of administration of standard chemotherapy agents, induces higher initial response rates but has the major drawback of causing unacceptably severe acute toxicity, increased numbers of secondary neoplasms, and infertility due to oligospermia in men and premature menopause in women. Alternatively, integration of novel therapeutic agents into primary treatment is attractive, especially when the introduction not only improves the frequency and durability of disease response but also does not unacceptably increase acute or long-term toxicity. Finally, widespread availability of functional imaging with positron emission tomography now enables response-adapted therapy, a separate innovation in the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma that can be incorporated with either intensified chemotherapy or addition of novel agents. This article discusses these exciting new developments in the treatment of advanced-stage Hodgkin lymphoma.
From the BC Cancer Center for Lymphoid Cancer and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Conflicts of Interest and Source of Funding: J.M.C. received research funding from Amgen, Bayer Healthcare, Bristol Myers-Squibb, Cephalon, F Hoffmann-La Roche, Genentech, Janssen, Lilly, Merck, NanoString Technologies, Seattle Genetics, and Takeda.
Reprints: Joseph M. Connors, MD, BC Cancer Center for Lymphoid Cancer, 600 W 10th Ave, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5Z 4E6. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.