Hodgkin transformation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia: the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center experience

Apostolia-Maria Tsimberidou, Susan O'Brien, Hagop M Kantarjian, Charles Koller, Fredrick B Hagemeister, Luis Fayad, Susan Lerner, Carlos E Bueso-Ramos, Michael J Keating
Cancer 2006 September 15, 107 (6): 1294-302

BACKGROUND: Hodgkin transformation is a rare complication of chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL). In this study, the authors assessed the incidence, presenting characteristics, and outcomes of patients with CLL/SLL who developed Hodgkin lymphoma (HL).

METHODS: An electronic database search of patients with CLL/SLL who presented at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Department of Leukemia between 1975 and 2005 was performed.

RESULTS: Among 4121 patients with CLL/SLL, 18 patients (0.4%) developed HL. Presenting features included B-symptoms (67%), lymph node enlargement (79%), splenomegaly (43%), hepatomegaly (29%), hypercalcemia (6%), infection (6%), and mental status changes (6%). The median age was 72 years (range, 49-81 years), and there was a male preponderance (78%). The median time from CLL to HL diagnosis was 4.6 years (range, 0-12.9 years). Fourteen patients (78%) had been previously treated for CLL/SLL. Ten patients (56%) had received >1 prior therapy. The median beta2-microglobulin level was 4.5 mg/L, and the median lactate dehydrogenase level was 610 IU/L. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) was positive by in situ hybridization for EBV-encoded RNA in 3 of 4 tested patients. Fourteen patients (78%) received chemotherapy. The overall response rate was 44% (complete response rate, 19%). The median overall survival duration was 0.8 years (range, 0.03 years-6.7+ years). The median failure-free survival (FFS) duration was 0.4 years.

CONCLUSIONS: The rates of response, survival, and FFS in patients with Hodgkin transformation of CLL/SLL were inferior to those reported in patients with de novo HL and were similar to those in patients with Richter syndrome.

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