Primary therapy and relative survival in classical Hodgkin lymphoma: a nationwide population-based study in the Netherlands, 1989–2017

Julia Driessen*, Otto Visser, Josée M. Zijlstra, Pieternella J. Lugtenburg, Wouter J. Plattel, Marie José Kersten, Avinash G. Dinmohamed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Population-based studies of classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) in contemporary clinical practice are scarce. The aim of this nationwide population-based study is to assess trends in primary therapy and relative survival (RS) during 1989–2017. We included 9,985 patients with cHL. Radiotherapy alone was virtually not applied as from 2000 among patients aged 18–69 years with stage I/II disease, following the broader application of chemotherapy combined with radiotherapy. Chemotherapy only was the preferred treatment for patients with stage III/IV disease. Throughout the entire study period, around 20% of patients aged ≥70 years across all disease stages received no anti-neoplastic therapy. The most considerable improvements in 5-year RS were confined to patients aged 18–59 years. Five-year RS for patients with stage I/II disease diagnosed during 2010–2017 was 99%, 98%, 100%, 93%, 84%, and 61% for patients aged 18–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59, 60–69, and ≥70 years, respectively. The corresponding estimates for stage III/IV disease were 96%, 92%, 90%, 80%, 58%, and 46%. Collectively, the improvements in survival likely relate to advances in cHL management. These achievements, however, do not seem to translate into significant benefits for patients ≥60 years. Therefore, novel therapies are urgently needed to reduce excess mortality in elderly cHL patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-505
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021

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