The category of favorable early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) includes patients with Ann Arbor stages I or II disease with no bulky disease or B symptoms. The precise definition of favorable versus unfavorable early-stage disease may vary among American and European cooperative groups. The overall 10-year survival rate of patients with favorable early-stage HL exceeds 90%. Indeed, effective treatments for this group of patients have been available for more than 4 decades. However, treatment strategies have radically changed over the past 15 years and focus now on maintaining the high cure rate while reducing the risk of treatment-related long-term morbidity. The optimal treatment is still evolving, and more recently, reduction in the total amount of chemotherapy and in radiation field and dose has shown excellent results. Combined modality therapy is the preferred treatment for patients with classical favorable early-stage HL (nodular sclerosis or mixed cellularity histology). Patients with early-stage lymphocyte predominance HL are highly curable using involved-field radiation therapy (IFRT) alone and do not require chemotherapy. Classical favorable HL is also curable with radiotherapy alone or with chemotherapy alone, but larger fields and higher-dose radiation or longer chemotherapy is required compared with combined modality. The freedom from treatment failure rate is significantly better with a combination of short chemotherapy and IFRT than with either chemotherapy or radiotherapy alone. Although combined modality is the standard preferred treatment for favorable disease, radiation therapy alone or chemotherapy alone could be considered under special circumstances or as part of an investigational protocol.
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Correspondence: Joachim Yahalom, MD, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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