How much does it cost to treat children with Hodgkin lymphoma in Africa?

Leuk Lymphoma. 2009 Feb;50(2):196-9. doi: 10.1080/10428190802663205.


Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a common B-cell childhood neoplasm and it has a higher incidence in the 0-14 year age group in developing countries compared to developed countries. Treatment achieves a cure rate of about 80%. In African countries with a small gross domestic product per capita the cost of treating HL in children may be prohibitive. To determine the direct costs of treatment of HL in South Africa and to propose a more cost-effective approach to investigation and treatment for children diagnosed with HL in Africa, tumor registry data for 138 children with HL from two South African hospitals were analysed retrospectively. The cost of treatment for stage 2 disease was calculated, including investigations and chemotherapy. The analysis included the cost of a follow-up period of 2 years. Stage 2 was the most common stage seen, and ABVD protocol was the most common protocol used. The total cost of diagnosing, staging, treating with chemotherapy and following up a child with stage 2 HL for 2 years post-therapy was ZAR 53178.20 = USD 6647.27 = EUR 4431.51. Follow-up expenditure was much higher than initial chemotherapy costs. The major factors driving the cost for the whole group of 138 patients were as follows: stage, radiologic imaging, radiotherapy, second-line chemotherapy, hospitalisation and febrile neutropenia. The total cost of treatment of HL is affordable for first world countries, but it remains expensive for developing countries, especially in Africa where the GDP is often under USD 2000 per head. Early diagnosis, use of less toxic protocols such as ABVD, close monitoring to prevent complications and elimination of unnecessary tests and investigations may reduce the overall cost.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Africa / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / diagnosis
  • Hodgkin Disease / economics*
  • Hodgkin Disease / epidemiology
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Survival Rate