Radiation May Not Be Necessary For Some Hodgkin's Children

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According to the findings of a small study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, some children diagnosed with early-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma who respond to induction chemotherapy might not require subsequent radiotherapy treatment.

If so, this would bode well for those patients, since radiation presents its own dangers for their current and future health. The study will require confirmation in larger trials, but could present the possibility of avoiding the risks of secondary cancer later in life possibly caused by radiation.

Doctors are always trying to cut down on the long-term side effects from treatment, especially in Hodgkin's patients since treatment is often successful and doctors have learned enough that they can now seek ways to reduce future harm.

This study was carried out at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and involved 88 children with early-stage HL.

After two cycles of VAMP chemotherapy (adriamycin, methotrexate, vinblastine and prednisone), 47 children had a complete response, and received two more cycles of chemo but did not receive radiation.

The 41 patients who did not achieve a complete response received the other two cycles of chemo along with radiotherapy.

After an average seven years of follow-up, there was no significant difference in survival between the two groups of children.

"This study adds to evidence that it is possible to omit radiation even in patients treated with a less intense chemotherapy regimen and still achieve excellent long-term survival," added Dr Monika Metzger, from St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

Source: JAMA

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