ABVD in older patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma treated within the German Hodgkin Study Group HD10 and HD11 trials

J Clin Oncol. 2013 Apr 20;31(12):1522-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.45.4181. Epub 2013 Mar 18.


Purpose: Older patients with Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) account for approximately 20% of all HL patients. ABVD (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) chemotherapy is regarded as standard of care in these patients. However, little is known on feasibility and efficacy of ABVD in this age group.

Patients and methods: We analyzed the feasibility and efficacy of four cycles of ABVD in older patients age 60 to 75 years with early-stage HL who were treated within the German Hodgkin Study Group (GHSG) HD10 and HD11 trials; results were compared with those of younger patients treated within these trials.

Results: In total, 1,299 patients received four cycles of ABVD, and 117 of those patients were older than age 60 years (median, 65 years). In 14% of older patients, treatment was not administered according to protocol, mainly because of excessive toxicity. The mean delay of treatment was twice as high in the older patients (2.2 v 1.2 weeks). Fifty-nine percent of older patients achieved a relative dose-intensity of at least 80% compared with 85% of younger patients. Major toxicity (WHO grade 3 and 4), including leucopenia, nausea, infection, and others, was documented in 68% of older patients with a treatment-related mortality of 5%. Complete response was achieved in 89% of older patients, 3% had progressive disease, and 11% relapsed. At a median observation time of 92 months, 28% of the patients had died, and the 5-year progression-free survival estimate was 75% (95% CI, 66% to 82%).

Conclusion: In patients age ≥ 60 years with HL, four cycles of ABVD is associated with substantial dose reduction, treatment delay, toxicity, and treatment-related mortality.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00264953 NCT00265018.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Bleomycin / therapeutic use
  • Dacarbazine / therapeutic use
  • Doxorubicin / therapeutic use
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hodgkin Disease / drug therapy*
  • Hodgkin Disease / mortality
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Prognosis
  • Remission Induction
  • Survival Rate
  • Vinblastine / therapeutic use
  • Young Adult


  • Bleomycin
  • Vinblastine
  • Dacarbazine
  • Doxorubicin

Supplementary concepts

  • ABVD protocol

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00264953
  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00265018