Herst, J. et al. Clinical Oncology. Published online: September 30 2016
- A clinical practice guideline for early stage Hodgkin lymphoma is proposed.
- The recommendations, based on a systematic review, have been reviewed by an external panel.
- Evidence quality was evaluated with the Cochrane Risk of Bias tool and we used GRADE.
- Combined modality therapy or chemotherapy alone are options for early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma.
- PET scanning was not considered a good tool to identify patients for whom IFRT could be omitted.
In the past, treatment for patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma consisted mainly of radiotherapy. Now, chemotherapy alone and chemoradiotherapy are treatment options. These guidelines aim to provide recommendations on the optimal management of early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma.
We conducted a systematic review searching MEDLINE, EMBASE, the Cochrane Library and other literature sources from 2003 to 2015, and applied the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE). Two authors independently reviewed and selected studies, and appraised the evidence quality. The document underwent internal and external review by content, methodology experts, a patient representative and clinicians in Ontario.
We have issued recommendations for patients with classical Hodgkin lymphoma and with nodular lymphocyte predominant Hodgkin lymphoma; with favourable and unfavourable prognosis; and for the use of positron emission tomography to direct treatment. We have provided our interpretation of the evidence and considerations for implementation. Examples of recommendations are: ‘Patients with early-stage classical Hodgkin lymphoma should not be treated with radiotherapy alone’; ‘chemotherapy plus radiotherapy or chemotherapy alone are recommended treatment options for patients with early-stage non-bulky Hodgkin lymphoma’; ‘The Working Group does not recommend the use of a negative interim positron emission tomography scan alone to identify patients with early-stage Hodgkin lymphoma for whom radiotherapy can be omitted without a reduction in progression-free survival’.
Through the use of GRADE, recommendations were geared towards patient important outcomes and their strength reflected the available evidence and its interpretation from the patients’ point of view.
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