Background: Treatment-associated second neoplasms have emerged as a major threat to the continued survival of patients cured of Hodgkin's disease. In this study, the authors investigated the risk of breast carcinoma in an irradiated Hodgkin's disease population.
Methods: One hundred and eleven women younger than 60 years presenting between 1964 and 1984 with Stage I and II Hodgkin's disease who received mantle irradiation were retrospectively analyzed and compared with an age specific population. Median follow-up was 18 years (range, 10-30 years), and the median age at initiation of therapy was 24 years. Kaplan-Meier actuarial risks, relative risks (RRs) (the ratio of the observed to the expected cases) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), and the log rank test for trends were calculated.
Results: Fourteen women developed breast carcinoma: 8 of 33 patients younger than 20 years at the time of irradiation, 5 of 48 patients age 20 to 29 years, and 1 of 30 patients age 30 years or older. Actuarial calculation predicted a 34.0% (CI, 14.2-53.8) risk of breast carcinoma at 25 years after therapy for the youngest group, 22.3% (CI, 4.1-40.5) for the group of intermediate age, and 3.5% (CI, 0-10.1) for the oldest group. The RR of breast carcinoma was 56 (CI, 23.3-107) for those 19 years or younger at the time of treatment, 7.0 (CI, 2.3-16.4) for those age 20-29 years, and 0.9 (CI, 0-5.3) for those 30 years and older. Excluding 1 patient who was age 38 years at the time of irradiation, the remaining 13 breast carcinomas were tightly clustered in women irradiated between the ages of 14 through 25, and were detected in years 11 through 25 after treatment, with 7 occurring in years 15 through 18.
Conclusions: Women younger than 30 years, particularly those younger than 20 years, who have received mantle irradiation for Hodgkin's disease require meticulous follow-up for breast carcinoma. The high incidence of breast carcinoma in this patient population should be considered when making treatment decisions in young women with early stage Hodgkin's disease.