Patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma who were treated with multi-drug chemotherapy alone were more likely to be alive 12 years later than patients who received the same chemotherapy plus radiation therapy, according to findings from a phase III clinical trial. More patients who received radiation therapy in addition to chemotherapy died of second cancers or other toxic late effects of their treatment, such as heart disease, than those who received chemotherapy alone, researchers reported Monday at the American Society of Hematology (ASH) annual scientific meeting in San Diego. The findings, which are the first long-term results from a randomized trial involving patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma, also appeared online December 11 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The overall survival rate was 94 percent for patients treated with the drugs doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, anddacarbazine (ABVD regimen), compared with 87 percent for patients who received either radiation therapy alone or ABVD plus radiation therapy. Of 405 patients enrolled in the trial, 12 in the ABVD-alone group died during the follow-up period (six of Hodgkin lymphoma, four of second cancers, and two of other causes). In contrast, 24 patients in the group receiving radiation therapy died (4 of Hodgkin lymphoma, 10 of second cancers, and 10 of other causes).