Study Objective: To assess long-term differences in mortality associated with initial Hodgkin disease therapy.
Design: Retrospective review of patients treated in prospectively randomized clinical trials.
Patients: Three hundred twenty-six patients with pathologic stage I, II, or III, A or B Hodgkin disease treated between 1967 and 1980 with median follow-up exceeding 14 years.
Interventions: Patients at the same stage of disease were randomized to receive radiation alone (167 patients) or radiation followed by 6 cycles of mechlorethamine hydrochloride, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP) chemotherapy (159 patients) with additional therapy for progression or recurrence.
Measurements and Main Results: No significant differences between treatment regimens for actuarial survival, intercurrent disease, or Hodgkin disease mortality were seen. Thirty-three patients who received radiation alone and 30 patients who received adjuvant chemotherapy died without evident Hodgkin disease. Death was caused by second neoplasms in 28 patients (relative risk, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.46 to 3.24). Six patients developed acute myelogenous leukemia or a myeloproliferative disorder after treatment including MOPP. Chemotherapy exposure varied among the 8 patients with lung cancers, 6 with gastrointestinal and 3 with other adenocarcinomas, 3 with sarcomas, 1 with diffuse large cell lymphoma, and 1 with melanoma. Acute myocardial infarction caused 9 of 17 cardiovascular disease deaths with 5 occurring in patients between the ages of 33 and 43. Nonetheless, the risk for acute myocardial infarction was not clearly increased (relative risk, 0.86; 95% CI, 0.42 to 1.57). Fifteen patients died from infection: 5, opportunistic; 5, asplenic sepsis; and 5, other pneumonias. Two patients died in accidents, and 1 died from radiation pneumonitis.
Conclusions: Adjuvant MOPP chemotherapy improved freedom from relapse without significant survival benefit or impairment. Leukemogenesis was the only lethal complication associated with MOPP. Survivors of Hodgkin disease had an increased risk for death from a second neoplasm, but no apparent increased risk for death from acute myocardial infarction.