Chemotherapy Options For Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Guided By PET Scans

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PET scans administered midway through treatment can help doctors decide which chemotherapy choices will work best for patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, determining the correct regimen midway through chemotherapy can help doctors successfully treat patients with advanced Hodgkins lymphoma and minimize the ill effects of these types of drugs. Chemotherapy treatments have a 70 percent success rate in the United States.

“The outcome of this large study was very encouraging and suggested that this approach could maximize cure rates for advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma while minimizing toxicities for the majority of patients,” said Dr. Oliver Press, a lymphoma physician and lead author of the study.

PET scan predictions

Researchers claim that the amount of cancer cells detected during a PET scan at the midway point of chemotherapy can help doctors determine the best course of action for individual patients during the remainder of their treatments.

During the study patients were scanned to look for remaining destructive tumor cells in the lymph nodes. If a PET scan revealed lingering cancer cells, those patients received a more aggressive regimen of chemotherapy. If less threatening tumor cells were revealed during the scan, patients’ treatments would be scaled back to minimize chemotherapy's side effects.

“Hodgkin’s lymphoma is one of the examples of a disease that [response-adapted therapy] makes the most sense in,” said Dr. Jonathan Friedberg, second author of the study. “Because we’re already curing a lot of patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it suggests that there’s a subset of patients [in whom] we’d like to de-escalate treatment to limit toxicity, and also for that smaller fraction of people whom we’re not curing, to escalate treatment.”

Source: Lymphoma News Today

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