Radiation vs chemo leads to five times as many secondary cancers


According to a retrospective study published online back in March 2011 in the journal Annals of Oncology, Hodgkin's lymphoma patients being treated with radiotherapy in addition tochemotherapy were several timesmore likely to develop solid second malignant neoplasms (SMN) compared to patients who received only chemotherapy.

Researchers from Centre for Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, Sydney Children's Hospital in Australia looked at a cohort of 142 Hodgkin's patients covering 30 years. What they found was that among the 63 patients who received radiotherapy, 25% had developed SMNs, compared to just 5%of the 79 patients treated with chemotherapy.

This amounts to a five-fold risk of developing SMNs when receiving radiotherapy compared to merely receiving chemotherapy.

At the recent ASTRO meeting, the German Hodgkin Study Group reported that radiotherapy for HL patients should be reserved for certain patients, and not simply part of a sweeping standard guideline of treatment.


Barbaro PM et al. Reduced incidence of second solid tumors in survivors of childhood Hodgkin's lymphoma treated without radiation therapy. Ann Oncol. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr013

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