Prognosis and management strategies of lymphatic neoplasias in the elderly. II. Hodgkin's disease

Oncology. Jul-Aug 1998;55(4):265-75. doi: 10.1159/000011862.


In Caucasians, Hodgkin's disease demonstrates constant incidence rates, with a first peak occurring in adolescents and in young adults, and a second peak in the elderly. Age is an important risk factor for overall survival of patients; staging strategies and treatment expose elderly patients to an even higher risk arising from surgical complications, death from secondary cancer and leukemia or lethal cardiac complications. In contrast to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, optimal staging and treatment procedures have not yet been defined for this disease in elderly patients. However, due to the very poor prognosis of inadequately treated patients, treatment recommendations at present must be based on those for younger patients while keeping the individual risk profile in mind. If staging laparotomy is omitted, most patients will require a combined modality treatment. While in low-risk patients a reduced number of cycles with full-dose chemotherapy like ABVD (Adriblastina, bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine) or of six cycles with less toxic drugs like VBM (vinblastine, bleomycin, methotrexate) followed by limited field radiotherapy may suffice, patients with well-defined risk factors will require a more prolonged chemotherapy. Currently, there is no evidence that C(M)OPP [cyclophosphamide (mustargen), vincristine, procarbazine, prednisone]/ABVD or ABVD may successfully be replaced by less toxic regimens. Therefore, further studies are required on the specific definition of biological age, the cost/benefit ratio of staging procedures and treatment and the influence of these strategies on the quality of life in the elderly.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Hodgkin Disease / epidemiology
  • Hodgkin Disease / pathology
  • Hodgkin Disease / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Staging
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome