Background: Patients who survive Hodgkin's disease are at increased risk for second neoplasms. As survival times increase, solid tumors are emerging as a serious long-term complication.
Methods: The Late Effects Study Group followed a cohort of 1380 children with Hodgkin's disease to determine the incidence of second neoplasms and the risk factors associated with them.
Results: In this cohort, there were 88 second neoplasms as compared with 4.4 expected in the general population (standardized incidence ratio, 18.1; 95 percent confidence interval, 14.3 to 22.3). The estimated actuarial incidence of any second neoplasm 15 years after the diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease was 7.0 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 5.2 to 8.8 percent); the incidence of solid tumors was 3.9 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 2.3 to 5.5 percent). Breast cancer was the most common solid tumor (standardized incidence ratio 75.3; 95 percent confidence interval, 44.9 to 118.4), with an estimated actuarial incidence in women that approached 35 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 17.4 to 52.6 percent) by 40 years of age. Older age (10 to 16 vs. <10 years) at the time of radiation treatment (relative risk, 1.9) and a higher dose (2000 to 4000 vs. <2000 cGy) of radiation (relative risk, 5.9) were associated with significantly increased risk of breast cancer. The estimated actuarial incidence of leukemia reached a plateau of 2.8 percent (95 percent confidence interval, 0.8 to 4.8 percent) 14 years after diagnosis. Treatment with alkylating agents, older age at the diagnosis of Hodgkin's disease, recurrence of Hodgkin's disease, and a late stage of disease at diagnosis were risk factors for leukemia.
Conclusions: The risk of solid tumors, especially breast cancer, is high among women who were treated with radiation for childhood Hodgkin's disease. Systematic screening for breast cancer could be important in the health care of such women.