Pulmonary Toxicity of Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment: A Prospective Single-Center Study

Adam Jona, Zsofia Miltenyi, Laszlo Pinczes, Patricia Kerek, Nora Bittner, Maria Szilasi, Sandor Barna, Arpad Illes


Background: Standard bleomycin-containing first-line therapy and/or irradiation may cause pulmonary toxicity in Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients. Our aim was to prospectively assess effects of chest irradiation, bleomycin administration, and other factors on lung function in the treatment of patients with HL.

Methods: Pulmonary function of newly diagnosed HL patients was assessed via a St. George Respiratory Questionnaire, dynamic inhalation lung scintigraphy, spirometry, and an assessment of the diffusion capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (DLCO) before, during, and after treatment.

Results: This prospective study was conducted at the University of Debrecen. The study included 84 patients with classical HL. Most patients received standard doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine chemotherapy. Both intramuscular and intravenous administrations of bleomycin were used. Brentuximab vedotin combination chemotherapy was administered to 12 patients. Mediastinal involved-field irradiation therapy (IFRT) was used to treat 16 patients. Lung scintigraphy revealed pulmonary toxicity more sensitively than DLCO. Intravenous bleomycin administration decreased diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid clearance. Intramuscular bleomycin had the lowest level of pulmonary toxicity among considered treatments. Currently used, mediastinal IFRT had a lower level of pulmonary toxicity than bleomycin. The current prospective evaluation confirmed previous results that determined that cumulative bleomycin dose and administration are major risk factors for pulmonary toxicity, while the currently used treatment method, mediastinal irradiation, was determined to be relatively safe for treating for HL patients.

Conclusion: We agree with decreasing bleomycin dosage and number of cycles administered and we do not recommend avoiding mediastinal IFRT, unless multiple pulmonary risk factors are present.

J Hematol. 2021;10(6):266-273
doi: https://doi.org/10.14740/jh929


Hodgkin lymphoma; Pulmonary toxicity; Bleomycin; Irradiation; Brentuximab vedotin; Scintigraphy; Pulmonary fibrosis; Combination therapy

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