ABVD-Based Therapy for Hodgkin Lymphoma in Children and Adolescents: Lessons Learnt in a Tertiary Care Oncology Center in a Developing Country

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As Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a highly curable malignancy, most current pediatric trials focus on strategies aimed at reducing late effects of therapy. We report our results with doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine (ABVD) therapy.


We retrospectively analyzed 17 years (1996–2013) data of patients ≤18 years of age with HL. All patients received ABVD chemotherapy and involved field radiotherapy (IFRT) was reserved for those with bulky disease or partial response. The analysis was carried out to assess overall survival (OS) and freedom from treatment failure (FFTF) and factors predicting the events.


Of 167 eligible patients, 72 (43.1%) had B symptoms, 28 (16.7%) had bulky disease, 31 (18.6%) had >4 lymph node regions, and 53 (31.8%) had advanced disease (stages III and IV). In all, 87% patients received six cycles of ABVD and IFRT was administered to 51 (30.5%) patients. The 5-year OS and FFTF were 95.9% and 79%, respectively, and were similar in patients treated with or without IFRT. On multivariable analysis, advanced disease (stages III and IV), involvement of >4 lymph node regions, and serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) ≥500 IU/l at diagnosis were statistically significant factors for FFTF (P = 0.03, 0.003, 0.048, respectively).


The excellent survival of HL patients in the setting of a developing country reported in this retrospective analysis warrants treatment reduction, especially for early-stage patients. The use of risk- and response-based stratification incorporating disease stage, involved lymph node regions, and serum LDH, along with fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography-based response, may guide development of effective and less toxic protocols.

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