When it comes to treating childhood Hodgkin lymphoma patients, less radiation might be better
The multi-center trial, led by researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, involved 88 patients whose cancer had spread to fewer than three lymph nodes and surrounding tissue. All were treated with four rounds of a chemotherapy regimen known as VAMP (vinblastine, Adriamycin (doxorubicin), methotrexate, prednisone). Of the 88 children, 47 had a complete response to the chemotherapy regimen after two cycles and received no radiation. The remaining 41 patients had less than a complete response after two cycles of chemotherapy and were given a low dose of radiation. Both groups achieved a two-year event-free survival of about 90 percent.
An estimated 850 to 900 children and adolescents younger than 20 years old are diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma every year, which makes up 6 percent of all childhood cancers. Experts hope more trials such as this will continue to help replace therapies that can cause serious long-term and late effects with regimens that maintain high cure rates.