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Cardiac morbidity following modern treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma: supra-additive cardiotoxicity of doxorubicin and radiation therapy


Age- and sex-specific estimates of the rate of cardiac morbidity among Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients treated with doxorubicin-based chemotherapy and radiation therapy (RT) are scarce.

The authors evaluated the risk of hospital admission for cardiac disease in 615 HL patients, adjusting for age, sex, treatment, cardiac risk factors and competing causes of death.  Compared with the general population, the risk of cardiac morbidity was highest among patients treated with both doxorubicin and mediastinal RT (HR = 2.77, p < 0.0001).  Mediastinal RT without chemotherapy also significantly increased the risk (HR = 1.82, p = 0.038).  For females and males treated with doxorubicin plus mediastinal RT at age 40, the estimated 15-year incidence rate of cardiac hospitalisation were 7.3% and 16.5%, respectively, rates 5-15% higher than expected.

These results suggest that the risk of clinically important cardiac toxicity following HL treatment that includes both doxorubicin and mediastinal RT may be greater than that reported in prior studies of patients treated with RT alone.



Myrehaug S, Pintilie M, Tsang R, Mackenzie R, Crump M, Chen Z, Sun A, Hodgson DC. Leuk Lymphoma. 2008; 49(8):1486-93.

Contributing ICES Scientists