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 how far Hodgkin disease has spread, and in finding out how well treatment is working. PET/CT 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 there are often long-term side effects from treatment. A very active area of research is aimed at finding less toxic treatments that do not have serious, long-term side effects. This includes using newer drugs and forms of radiation therapy.
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 different ways from typical chemo drugs are now being studied. They are known as targeted therapy drugs. Some attack different parts of cancer cells, while others target some of the other cells in Hodgkin disease tumors.
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: 08/19/2014
Last Revised: 02/09/2016