Lymphoma - Hodgkin: Latest Research

Approved by the Lineagotica Editorial Board, 09/2017

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done now to learn more about this type of lymphoma and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about Hodgkin lymphoma, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to people diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for you.

  • Measuring treatment effectiveness. A focus of research for Hodgkin lymphoma is monitoring how well treatment is working. This knowledge can help inform decisions about whether treatment needs to be changed. Some new clinical trials are looking at changing chemotherapy depending on the results of a PET-CT scan early in the treatment period, usually after 2 cycles. This is called response-adapted treatment. Most recently, the International Conference on Malignant Lymphomas issued a statement recommending the use of response-adapted treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma. The results of the PET-CT taken after 2 cycles of first-line treatment are used to generate a Deauville score. The Deauville score is then used to plan how much and what kind of treatment is needed after the first treatment to give the best results and reduce potential side effects, including late effects. Based on recent promising clinical trial results, this may become a standard strategy in treating Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Reducing treatment intensity. Some types of earlier-stage Hodgkin lymphoma are so often cured that less intense treatment plans are being tested. These lower-intensity plans use less radiation therapy or lower amounts of chemotherapy. The goal is to effectively treat the lymphoma and have fewer long-term side effects. Often, patients receive a PET-CT scan after a short course of chemotherapy to help guide these treatment reductions.

  • New chemotherapy/targeted therapy. New drugs, new combinations of chemotherapy, lower doses, and shorter schedules are being studied in clinical trials to reduce short-term side effects and long-term health risks. Other drugs are being tested for recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma and may be added to the current standard chemotherapy regimens used for progressive disease. Several new types of drugs that work in a way different from chemotherapy, called targeted therapy, are also being studied. Many of these are given as a pill by mouth. Research has been studying the benefits or risks of adding brentuximab to the combination of therapies used for first-line treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma. Researchers are also examining the use of nivolumab and pembrolizumab (see “Immunotherapy” in Treatment Options) in treating both newly diagnosed and recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Gene profiling. Some researchers are looking at the specific genes and proteins that are found in Hodgkin lymphoma. These genes and proteins provide more information about the behavior of Hodgkin lymphoma, which may help doctors choose which chemotherapy or immunotherapy to use to treat the lymphoma.

  • Other treatments. Stem cell transplantation is being studied in combination with chemotherapy and immunotherapy regimens for new or recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma. Mini-allogeneic, also called non-myeloablative or reduced-intensity transplant, and allogeneic transplantation are being tested in combination with chemotherapy and immunotherapy for new or recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma.

  • Palliative care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current Hodgkin lymphoma treatments to improve patients’ comfort and quality of life.

Looking for More About the Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding Hodgkin lymphoma, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance in how to cope with the physical, emotional, and social changes that lymphoma and its treatment can bring. You may use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.