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Chapter: Basic & Clinical Pharmacology : Cancer Chemotherapy

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

The treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma has undergone dramatic evolution over the last 30 years.


The treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma has undergone dramatic evolution over the last 30 years. This lymphoma is now widely rec-ognized as a B-cell neoplasm in which the malignant Reed-Sternbergcells have rearranged VH genes. In addition, the Epstein-Barr virus genome has been identified in up to 80% of tumor specimens.Complete staging evaluation is required before a definitive treatment plan can be made. For patients with stage I and stage IIA disease, there has been a significant change in the treatment approach. Initially, these patients were treated with extended-field radiation therapy. However, given the well-documented late effects of radiation therapy, which include hypothyroidism, an increased risk of secondary cancers, and coronary artery disease, combined-modality therapy with a brief course of combination chemotherapy and involved field radiation therapy is now the recommended approach. The main advance for patients with advanced stage III and IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma came with the development of MOPP (mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarba-zine, and prednisone) chemotherapy in the 1960s. This regimen resulted initially in high complete response rates, on the order of 80–90%, with cures in up to 60% of patients. More recently, the anthracycline-containing regimen termed ABVD (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) has been shown to be more effective and less toxic than MOPP, especially with regard to the incidence of infertility and secondary malignancies. In general, four cycles of ABVD are given to patients. An alternative regimen, termed Stanford V, utilizes a 12-week course of combination che-motherapy (doxorubicin, vinblastine, mechlorethamine, vincristine, bleomycin, etoposide, and prednisone), followed by involved radiation therapy.With all of these regimens, over 80% of previously untreated patients with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma (stages III and IV) are expected to go into complete remission, with disappearance of all disease-related symptoms and objective evidence of disease. In general, approximately 50–60% of all patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma are cured of their disease.

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Basic & Clinical Pharmacology : Cancer Chemotherapy : Hodgkin’s Lymphoma |

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