Hodgkin's Treatment Linked to Stomach Cancer

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Hodgkins lymphoma survivors who received specific treatments appear to be at greater risk for stomach cancer, according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Lindsay M. Morton, Ph.D., NCI Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and her colleagues from the National Cancer Institute looked at data from the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the United States and Canada, involving 17,477 Hodgkin's survivors diagnosed between 1953 and 2003.

Among those cases, investigators found 89 cases of secondary malignancies in the form of stomach cancer. Using patient records, they ascertained radiation doses those patients received to the stomach as well the chemotherapy types they received. 

Then they compared those treatments to treatments received by those who didn't develop stomach cancer. Using that data they calculated risk among Hodgkin's survivors of developing stomach cancer.

According to their findings, the risk went up with the amount of radiation to the stomach. Those getting the highest doses had three times the risk of stomach cancer as those getting the lowest doses. If those same patients also received the chemo drug procarbazine, the risk was even higher, providing very clear evidence of the interaction between, chemo, radiation, and stomach cancer. 

Said Dr. Morton:

Our study adds strong support to the growing concern that stomach cancer is a rare but important adverse late effect of treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. Because Hodgkin lymphoma patients commonly receive treatment in their 20s and 30s, many of the stomach cancers arise before age 50, nearly 20 years earlier than is typical for newly diagnosed patients who have never had cancer. Clinicians who follow these survivors should be alert to patient complaints related to the gastrointestinal tract.

Source: NCI

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