Hodgkin's disease and acute leukemia. Report of eight cases and review of the literature

Fred Rosner, Hans Grünwald

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Eight cases of Hodgkin's disease and acute leukemia are reported. An additional 74 cases of acute myelocytic leukemia or one of its variants, 11 cases of acute lymphocytic leukemia, 12 cases of chronic myelocytic leukemia and 37 cases of chronic lymphocytic leukemia associated with Hodgkin's disease are reviewed from the literature. In 3 of the 82 patients with acute myelocytic leukemia and Hodgkin's disease, the two diseases occurred simultaneously. Of the remaining 79 patients, 76 had received radiation therapy for their Hodgkin's disease and acute myelocytic leukemia had developed 1.2 to 19 years later (mean 6.5 years). Thirty-four of these patients also received antineoplastic chemotherapy. Only three patients with Hodgkin's disease were treated with multiple chemotherapy alone; in these, Hodgkin's disease developed 1.2, 1.5 and 3.2 years later. In 4 of 11 patients with acute lymphocytic leukemia and Hodgkin's disease, the two disorders occurred simultaneously. The other seven patients were all treated with radiation for their Hodgkin's disease, and acute lymphocytic leukemia developed 2 to 8 years later (mean 4.5 years). Three of the 7 patients also received alkylating agents. It is concluded that the development of acute leukemia, mostly acute myelocytic leukemia but also acute lymphocytic leukemia, during the course of Hodgkin's disease, is most likely related to radiation therapy. There is as yet insufficient evidence to implicate intensive chemotherapy in the causation of acute leukemia since in only three patients with Hodgkin's disease treated with chemotherapy alone has the development of acute leukemia been reported. It is possible, however, that chemotherapy potentiates the effect of radiotherapy. It is also possible that acute leukemia is part of the natural history of Hodgkin's disease and is occurring with greater frequency because of improved survival in Hodgkin's disease since the introduction of better radiotherapeutic and chemotherapeutic treatment regimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-353
Number of pages15
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1975


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