Improved survival in patients with limited stage IIIA Hodgkin's disease treated with combined radiation therapy and chemotherapy

Karen Chayt Marcus, Leslie A. Kalish, C. Norman Coleman, Lawrence N. Shulman, David S. Rosenthal, George P. Canellos, Peter M. Mauch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Patients with laparotomy-staged (PS) III 1A Hodgkin's disease confined to the upper abdomen are believed to have a favorable prognosis and require less aggressive treatment than patients with more-extensive stage III disease. We evaluated prognostic factors and outcome in 93 patients with PS III 1A Hodgkin's disease treated either with radiation therapy (RT) alone or combined RT and chemotherapy (combined modality treatment [CMT]) to determine the extent of treatment needed in this subgroup of stage IIIA patients. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the freedom from relapse (FFR) rate, sites of recurrence, and survival rate of PS III 1A patients selected to receive extended-field irradiation (MPA, n = 27), total-nodal irradiation (TNI, n = 34), and CMT (n = 32) between 1969 and 1987. CMT consisted of six cycles of mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP) chemotherapy and MPA. Patients treated with MPA were part of a prospective trial designed to reduce treatment to patients with minimal stage III disease with very favorable characteristics. Results: Histologic subclass and treatment were the only prognostic factors for FFR and survival rates. Patients with nodular sclerosis or lymphocyte predominance histology had significantly higher FFR and survival rates compared to patients with mixed-cellularity (MC) histology. The 10-year actuarial FFR of PSIII 1A patients treatment with MPA was only 39%, versus 55% for TNI (P = .02) and 94% for CMT (v MPA, P < .0001; v TNI, P = .006). The patterns of recurrence in patients who received MPA and TNI were significantly different, with MPA patients relapsing more often in untreated pelvic or inguinal nodes, and TNI patients relapsing more often in extranodal sites with or without nodal sites. The 10-year actuarial overall survival rate for patients treated with CMT was 89% versus 78% for MPA (v CMT, P = .09) and 70% for TNI (v CMT, P = .05). Conclusion: Patients with PSIII1A Hodgkin's disease treated with RT have a significantly higher risk of relapse and potentially a poorer survival compared with patients treated with CMT. These findings suggest that CMT should play a greater role in the treatment of this favorable substage of patients. Management with modified chemotherapy and RT in an attempt to reduce long-term treatment-induced complications may be a preferred approach for future trials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2567-2572
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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