Hodgkin lymphoma: A 2020 update on diagnosis, risk-stratification, and management

Am J Hematol. 2020 Aug;95(8):978-989. doi: 10.1002/ajh.25856. Epub 2020 Jun 8.


Disease overview: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is an uncommon B-cell lymphoid malignancy affecting 8480 new patients annually and representing approximately 10% of all lymphomas in the United States.

Diagnosis: Hodgkin lymphoma is composed of two distinct disease entities: classical HL and nodular lymphocyte predominant HL. Nodular sclerosis, mixed cellularity, lymphocyte depletion, and lymphocyte-rich HL are subgroups of classical HL.

Risk stratification: An accurate assessment of the stage of disease in patients with HL is critical for the selection of the appropriate therapy. Prognostic models that identify patients at low or high risk for recurrence, as well as the response to therapy as determined by positron emission tomography (PET) scan, are used to optimize therapy.

Risk-adapted therapy: Initial therapy for HL patients is based on the histology of the disease, the anatomical stage and the presence of poor prognostic features. Patients with early stage disease are typically treated with combined modality strategies utilizing abbreviated courses of combination chemotherapy, followed by involved-field radiation therapy. Patients with advanced stage disease receive a longer course of chemotherapy, often without radiation therapy. However, newer agents including brentuximab vedotin and anti-PD-1 antibodies are now being incorporated into frontline therapy.

Management of relapsed/refractory disease: High-dose chemotherapy (HDCT) followed by an autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT) is the standard of care for most patients who relapse following initial therapy. For patients who fail HDCT with ASCT, brentuximab vedotin, PD-1 blockade, non-myeloablative allogeneic transplant or participation in a clinical trial should be considered.

Publication types

  • Historical Article

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • History, 21st Century
  • Hodgkin Disease / diagnosis*
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis