Carolyn Vachani, RN, MSN, AOCN
The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania
Last Modified: October 25, 2005
This study looked at patients with early stage (I and II) Hodgkin's disease. There is some controversy over the dose of radiation therapy and the number of cycles of standard chemotherapy (ABVD regimen) these patients should receive. Patients were assigned to some combination of radiation therapy at either 30 Gy (higher dose) or 20 Gy (lower dose) and ABVD chemotherapy for either 2 or 4 cycles, making a total of 4 possible combinations. Overall, the complete remission rate was 98.4%, and no differences were seen between the four groups with regard to survival. Although one might think that more chemotherapy and radiation would mean better survival, this is not always true. For example, the groups that received 4 cycles of chemo were more likely to have low white blood cell counts (leukopenia) and infection. Although longer follow-up is needed, this study is suggesting that lower doses of chemotherapy and radiation, and therefore fewer side effects, may be a safe and effective choice for early stage Hodgkin's disease.