Abstract

Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) in older patients, commonly defined as ≥60 years of age, is a disease for which survival rates have historically been significantly lower compared with younger patients. Older HL patients appear to have different disease biology compared with younger patients, including increased incidence of mixed cellularity histology, Epstein-Barr virus–related, and advanced-stage disease. For prognostication, several studies have documented the significance of comorbidities and functional status in older HL patients, as well as the importance of achieving initial complete remission. Collectively, selection of therapy for older HL patients should be based in part on functional status, including pretreatment assessment of activities of daily living (ADL), comorbidities, and other geriatric measures (eg, cognition, social support). Treatment of fit older HL patients should be given with curative intent, regardless of disease stage. However, attention should be paid to serious treatment-related toxicities, including risk of treatment-related mortality. Although inclusion of anthracycline therapy is important, bleomycin-containing regimens (eg, doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine) may lead to prohibitive pulmonary toxicity, and intensive therapies (eg, bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, prednisone) are too toxic. Brentuximab vedotin given sequentially before and after doxorubicin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine to fit, untreated advanced-stage older HL patients was recently shown to be tolerable and highly effective. Therapy for patients who are unfit or frail because of comorbidities and/or ADL loss is less clear and should be individualized with consideration of lower-intensity therapy, such as brentuximab vedotin with or without dacarbazine. Altogether, therapy for older HL patients should be tailored based upon a geriatric assessment, and novel targeted agents should continue to be integrated into treatment paradigms.

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