If caught early, Hodgkin's lymphoma can usually be cured and most patients are living many years after their diagnosis. However, they often must live with side effects caused by the treatment. In this study, doctors wanted to see if they could reduce the amount of radiation given to patients in order to cut down on side effects and still cure them of their cancer.
Between May 1998 and May 2002, researchers studied 1,131 patients to see whether giving patients chemotherapy and reducing the amount of radiation (from 30 Gy to 20 Gy) would cure their cancer. The results showed that more than 98 percent of patients receiving the reduced treatment experienced complete remission from their disease. Only 2.5 percent of the patients relapsed during the study's two years of observation and 13 patients died from the disease during the course of the study.
"Although this was an interim study, the results are very encouraging that we can cure patients with early-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma of their cancer while reducing the amount of radiation we give them, thus allowing them to have a higher quality of life after treatment," said Hans Theodor Eich, M.D., lead author of the study and a radiation oncologist at the University of Cologne in Cologne, Germany.
Contact: Beth Bukata
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology