Treatment outcomes of children with Hodgkin lymphoma between 2000 and 2010: First report by the South African Children's Cancer Study Group

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Children with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) have excellent survival rates in high-income countries, but there are minimal outcome data in South African patients. Differing approaches to treatment are used in centres across South Africa, and the South African Children's Cancer Study Group (SACCSG) embarked on a programme to audit outcomes to improve survival rates.

Patients and Methods

A multicentre study was conducted to analyse outcomes and prognostic factors of children with HL in South Africa. Ten dedicated South African paediatric oncology units participated in a retrospective data review. All patients with HL treated consecutively between January 2000 and December 2010 were included. Kaplan–Meier curves and Cox regression model were employed to determine survival rates and prognostic factors.


Two hundred and ninety-four patients were eligible for inclusion. The median age at presentation was 9.6 years (range 2.9–18.8); 55.4% of the patients presented with Stage III and IV disease and 9.9% were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive. First-line therapy consisted of adriamycin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine (ABVD) in 158 patients, vincristine, procarbazine/etoposide, prednisone and doxorubicin in 97 and adriamycin, bleomycin, vincristine and dacarbazine–chlorambucil, vinblastine, prednisone and procarbazine in 23 patients. The 5-year overall survival (OS) was 79% (95% confidence interval 73–84%). Multivariate analysis demonstrated that HIV infection (P = 0.018) and Ann Arbor Stage III and IV disease (P = 0.006) conferred a poor prognosis, while treatment with ABVD was associated with higher survival rates (P = 0.028).


OS rates are encouraging for a middle-income country, although economic disparities continue to impact negatively on outcomes. Study results will form the basis for the development of national protocol and continued advocacy to rectify disparities.

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