With improved prognosis for patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL), interest has increasingly focused on high-risk groups such as elderly patients. Advanced age at presentation is still one of the strongest negative risk factors. Many different factors influence the prognosis in elderly patients. These include biologic differences such as more aggressive histology, different distribution of disease, more frequent diagnosis of advanced stage, and shorter history of disease. In addition, however, aging itself and associated factors such as comorbidity, reduced tolerability of conventional therapy, more severe toxicity and treatment-related deaths, failure to maintain dose intensity, shorter survival after relapse, and death due to other causes contribute to the poorer outcome in elderly patients. Besides the evaluation of specific causes and risk factors, this review highlights recent and ongoing studies for elderly patients with HL as well as international approaches and recommendations for this age group.
Fredrick B. Hagemeister, MD
Despite significant improvements in the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma over the past 2 decades, physicians continue to face dilemmas in therapy for the disease, and many cured patients live with complications of treatment. Newer therapeutic options are still needed for the disease, to minimize complications and to improve the treatment of patients in relapse. This review considers the treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma in younger patients, addressing such issues as which patients with early-stage disease may require radiotherapy, what prognostic factors provide information that can affect treatment choices in patients with advanced disease, and what we have learned about treatment complications in this setting.
Although investigators knew before 1980 that retroviruses could cause various forms of leukemia, lymphoma, and solid tumors in animals, not until then was the first human oncogenic retrovirus, human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus-I (HTLV-I), isolated .
Although there have been many advances in the treatment of Hodgkin's disease, diagnosis of the disease still rests on the identification of the Reed-Sternberg cell. This distinctive, though nonspecific, cell was first described by Sternberg in 1898 and further elucidated by Reed in 1902. In most biopsies, the Reed-Sternberg cell accounts for only 1% of the cells present, with the remainder consisting of lymphocytes, granulocytes, histiocytes, plasma cells, and fibroblasts
Because irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) is a topoisomerase I inhibitor with a broad spectrum of antitumor clinical activity, we investigated its activity in relapsed or refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas (NHLs). Irinotecan at 300 mg/m² IV was administered every 21 days with intensive loperamide management of diarrhea.
In their review of the history of the management of stage I/II Hodgkin’s disease, Drs. Ng and Mauch describe the results of various treatment protocols and outline the questions posed by ongoing European, Canadian, and American trials. In a broad sense, the questions posed by these trials will help clinicians understand the benefits and complications of these treatments. However, as clinically oriented as they are, the current studies have yet to answer some common problems faced by private practitioners—the clinicians who, in North America, manage most patients with Hodgkin’s disease.
Irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) is a topoisomerase I inhibitor with a broad spectrum of antitumor clinical activity. Various schedules and doses have been studied, and major complications were delayed diarrhea and