Patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma who have been treated with radiation may be at an increased risk for malignant mesothelioma.
Although malignant mesothelioma is relatively uncommon, previous research indicated it may be associated with radiation exposure.
Results of several recent epidemiological studies showed that radiation for lymphoma may be linked with an increased risk for malignant mesothelioma. However, these studies involved only a small number of patients and the results needed to be confirmed in larger studies.
For this study, the researchers examined risk for malignant mesothelioma in 2,567 patients who had reached at least five-year survival after treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Patients included in the study had been treated with radiation alone, chemotherapy alone or a combination of both.
Median follow-up period was 18.1 years. At this time, 13 patients had malignant mesothelioma at least five years after being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Five-year survivors of Hodgkin’s lymphoma were about 26 times more likely than the general population to develop malignant mesothelioma, according to the results. Those treated with radiation alone were about 30 times more likely to develop malignant mesothelioma.
There were no cases of the disease among the 232 patients treated with chemotherapy alone, but patients treated with both radiation and chemotherapy were almost 44 times more likely to develop malignant mesothelioma.