Second malignancy in patients with Hodgkin's disease treated at the Royal Marsden Hospital

Br J Cancer. 1997;75(1):116-23. doi: 10.1038/bjc.1997.19.


Risk of second primary malignancy was assessed in follow-up to June 1991 of 1039 patients first treated for Hodgkin's disease at the Royal Marsden Hospital during 1963-91. A total of 77 second malignancies occurred. There were significantly raised risks of stomach [standardized incidence ratio (SIR)=4.0], lung (SIR=3.8), bone (SIR=26.5), soft tissue (SIR=16.9) and non-melanoma skin (SIR=3.9) cancers, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (SIR=4.6), and acute and non-lymphocytic leukaemia (SIR=31.3), with a relative risk of 3.3 for all second cancers other than non-melanoma skin cancer. Solid cancer risk was raised to a similar extent in patients treated only with radiotherapy (SIR=2.6, P<0.001), only with chemotherapy (SIR=2.1, P=0.08) and with both (SIR=3.1, P<0.001). Leukaemia risk was raised only in those receiving chemotherapy, whether alone or with radiotherapy. The relative risk for solid cancers was much greater in patients who were younger at first treatment (trend P<0.001), whereas leukaemia risk was greatest for those first treated at ages 25-44. For solid cancers (P<0.001) but not leukaemia (P=0.05) there was a strong gradient of greater relative risks at younger attained ages. The relative risk of second cancers overall was 27.5 at ages under 25 and 2.0 at ages 55 and above. Leukaemia and solid cancer risks in patients treated with chlorambucil, vinblastine, procarbazine and prednisone (ChlVPP) were not significantly greater than those in patients treated with mustine, vincristine, procarbazine and prednisone (MOPP). Number of cycles of chemotherapy was significantly related to risk of leukaemia (P<0.001), and there was a trend in the same direction for solid cancers (P=0.07). The study adds to evidence that alkylating chemotherapy may increase the risk of solid cancers, and that ChlVPP does not provide a less carcinogenic alternative to MOPP chemotherapy. The very large relative risks found for solid cancers at young attained ages and in patients treated when young may have important implications as, in the long term, the majority of second malignancies after Hodgkin's disease are solid cancers. The risks of solid malignancies need clarification by larger collaborative epidemiological studies.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chlorambucil / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hodgkin Disease / complications*
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mechlorethamine / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms, Second Primary / epidemiology*
  • Prednisone / therapeutic use
  • Procarbazine / therapeutic use
  • Risk
  • Risk Factors
  • Vinblastine / therapeutic use
  • Vincristine / therapeutic use


  • Chlorambucil
  • Procarbazine
  • Mechlorethamine
  • Vincristine
  • Vinblastine
  • Prednisone

Supplementary concepts

  • CHIVPP protocol
  • MOPP protocol