Hodgkin lymphoma in older patients: An uncommon disease in need of study

Andrew M. Evens, John W. Sweetenham, Sandra J. Horning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Elderly Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), commonly defined as occuring in patients over 60 to 65 years of age, is an uncommon disease. In population-based studies, the proportion of HL patients over age 60 years has ranged from 15% to 30%. However, the proportion of patients over age 60 years in clinical trials has been considerably lower, typically constituting < 5% to 10% of participants. Elderly HL patients commonly present with mixed cellularity histology, B symptoms, advanced stage, and Epstein-Barr virus-positive disease. Progression-free and overall survival rates for elderly HL patients are disproportionately inferior to those of younger patients. Generally, treatment of elderly HL for all disease stages should be given with curative intent, but more effective, tolerable therapeutic regimens are needed. No standard treatment recommendations exist for elderly HL. Bleomycin-containing regimens including ABVD (doxorubicin [Adriamycin], bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine) are associated with pulmonary toxicity, and intensive therapy such as BEACOPP (bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine [Oncovin], procarbazine [Matulane], prednisone) is poorly tolerated, whereas less-intensive regimens such as CVP/CEB (chlorambucil [Leukeran], vinblastine, procarbazine, prednisone, cyclophosphamide, etoposide, bleomycin) and ChlVPP (chlorambucil, vinblastine, procarbazine, prednisolone) appear to be less effective than anthracycline-based regimens. Recent data using CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone) in this population merit further investigation. In addition, further evaluation of the prognostic value of early PET in elderly HL is warranted. Continued multicenter collaborations with prospective clinical trials, including formal assessment of comorbidity and functional status, will be critical to the successful study of elderly HL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1369-1379
Number of pages11
Issue number12
StatePublished - Nov 15 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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