Doctors Can Halve Radiation Dose for Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Halving the usual dose of radiation and combining it with chemotherapy can produce high survival rates in people with early-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma.

That finding was presented Monday by German researchers at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO) annual meeting in Denver, Colorado.

The researchers noted that, if caught early, Hodgkin's lymphoma can be cured and most patients live for many years after their diagnosis. However, they often have to cope with side effects of radiation treatment.

The researchers wanted to examine whether those side effects could be reduced by decreasing the amount of radiation needed to treat patients.

The four-year study of 1,131 patients looked at whether reducing the amount of radiation (from 30 Gy to 20 Gy) and combining it with chemotherapy would cure the patients. More than 98 percent of the patients who received this treatment experienced complete remission, while 13 patients died from Hodgkin's lymphoma during the study, the researchers said.

"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," study author Dr. Hans Theodor Eich, a radiation oncologist at the University of Cologne, said in a prepared statement.

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