Hereditary Aspect to Hodgkin's Disease (HD)?

Last Modified: September 28, 2006


Dear OncoLink "Ask The Experts,"

I would like to know if HD can be inherited? I had HD at 18 years old with a recurrence several years later. At 28 years of age, I had 2 children. My daughter is now 16 and has a "knot" in her neck (same place mine was found).


Babis (Charalambos) Andreadis, MD, Assistant Professor in Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology at the Abramson Cancer Center and an Associate Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania, responds:

There does seem to be a higher risk of Hodgkin's lymphoma in close relatives of patients with this disease. The risk is about 3- to 5-fold greater than in the general population. This is not clearly due to a genetic predisposition, but could be related to similar socioeconomic and environmental exposures among members of the same family (i.e. diet, environment, etc.). Even though a hereditary risk exists, given that the incidence of Hodgkin lymphoma in the US population is only about 2 people out of every 100,000, the risk among close family members only rises to 6-10 in 100,000, which is still a significantly low risk.