What’s new in Hodgkin disease research?
Important research into Hodgkin disease is going on now in many places around the world. Scientists are getting closer to finding out what causes the disease and how to improve treatment.
In recent years, PET scans and combined PET/CT scans have been found to be very helpful in learning about the amount of Hodgkin disease in the body and in finding out how well treatment is working. PET scans are now often used early in the course of treatment to help doctors decide how much treatment needs to be given.
As a rule, cure rates for Hodgkin disease are high, but long-term side effects of treatment are an important issue. A very active area of research is aimed at finding less toxic treatments that do not have serious, long-term side effects.
New chemotherapy (chemo) drugs and drug combinations are being studied in patients with Hodgkin disease. Some drugs already used to treat other cancers have shown promise against Hodgkin disease. They have helped patients who have relapsed after other chemo treatments.
Newer drugs that work in a different way from typical chemo drugs are now being studied. These drugs are known as targeted therapy drugs. They are more often used to treat other cancers such as multiple myeloma and some non-Hodgkin lymphomas, but they may prove to be useful in Hodgkin disease as well.
Antibodies are proteins normally made by the immune system to help fight infections. Monoclonal antibodies (man-made versions of immune system proteins) have been made to target cancer cells. They may be used alone or given along with chemo. Some of these drugs are now being used in patients with Hodgkin disease, while others are being studied.
Last Medical Review: 02/05/2013
Last Revised: 02/07/2014