Purpose: Various experiences show no substantial differences between children and adults in the treatment of Hodgkin's disease. In consideration of some peculiar characteristics of these cases which might influence the therapeutical choice, particularly regarding long-term survival and therapeutical complications, we report the results of a series of 73 children and adolescents with Hodgkin's disease treated at the University of Rome "La Sapienza".
Methods: Between 1976 and 1983, 73 untreated pediatric cases of stage I-IV Hodgkin's disease were treated with radiotherapy, alone or associated with chemotherapy, using high doses and extended fields.
Results: Fifty-six patients (77%) were in continuous complete remission in April 1995 and seventeen (23%) had died.
Conclusions: The authors confirm the excellent results in the treatment of pediatric Hodgkin's disease, both in terms of overall and relapse free survival, in spite of a high incidence of complications caused by the aggressive treatment used in this series. Therefore the majority of authors suggest combined alternating low-dose radiation administered with small portals and short-term chemotherapy. These procedures provide optimal results together with a significant reduction of complications. Consequently, it is very important to evaluate all patient characteristics accurately in order to tailor optimal treatment and select cases with risk factors which might be undertreated and therefore undergo a higher risk of recurrence.