20 Jan 2019

What are the long-term effects of stem cell transplant on survival of patients with unresponsive Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

This study investigated the safety and effectiveness of stem cell transplantation (SCT) on survival in patients with unresponsive Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL). This study found that SCT was safe and effective in patients with HL that is unrepsonsive to treatment.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a type of cancer of the bone marrow that can lead to abnormal immune cells. Patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma (HL) are often cured by cancer treatments. However, some may not respond to therapy (refractory), while others may lose response over time (relapsing). Common therapy for refractory/relapsing (RR) HL patients is stem cell transplantation. This involves the transfer of stem cells to the patient from a donor. In many cases, stem cell transplantation can cure RR-HL but side effects can occur such as Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD – transplant rejection). It is important to research of SCT is a safe and effective treatment for patients with RR-HL
This study aimed to investigate the effect of stem cell transplantation on survival in RR-HL patients. This study included 70 RR-HL patients who had undergone stem cell transplantation.  Patients were observed for 6.2 years on average. Twenty-three percent of patients had refractory disease. Overall survival, progression-free survival (survival without the cancer getting worse), the development of GVHD and relapse-free survival were analysed.After five years, overall survival was 59%. Progression-free survival was 49%.  Sixty-six percent of patients did not develop GVHD. At year 5, 26% of patients had survived without developing GVHD or relapsing and 48% survived without developing GVHD. Having refractory HL before stem cell transplant influenced survival, the development of GVHD, and disease relapse.

 This study suggesed that stem cell transplantation may be a safe and effective treatment for patients with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma that is unresponsive to cancer chemotherapy.

This study selected patients with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma who had no additional diseases/conditions. Therefore, the results may not apply to all patients with HL, with other diseases.