Effects of Radiotherapy on the Risk of Developing Secondary Malignant Neoplasms in Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Survivors


Extended follow-up of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) survivors indicates that these patients are at high risk of secondary malignant neoplasms (SMNs) contributing to increased morbidity and mortality. This study examined the characteristics of HL survivors who developed SMNs with the aim to report any correlation with radiotherapy (RT) dose. In this retrospective multi-center cohort study of HL patients treated between 1990 and 2011 at three major teaching hospitals in Lebanon, classification was into two groups including those treated with combined modality (RT and chemotherapy-CHT) and those treated with CHT alone. Approval from the University Institutional Review Board (IRB) was obtained. Of the 112 patients evaluated, 52.7% (59) received the combined modality while 47.3% (53) received CHT alone. There were 6 cases of SMNs in the combined modality cohort and 5 cases in the CHT cohort. The mean RT dose in the combined modality cohort was 34.5 Gray (Gy) (SD ± 5.3). A statistically significant increase (1.5 fold) in the risk of developing SMNs was observed among patients who received a dose higher than 41 Gy compared to a dose between 20 to 30 Gy (OR= 1.5; 95% confidence interval= 0.674 to 3.339, p=0.012). The risk of SMNs was not significantly higher among patients who received extended field compared to involved field RT (p=0.964). This study showed that the risk of developing SMNs is higher among patients treated with RT dose greater than 31 Gy, independent of the RT type used.