Risk of breast cancer and breast cancer characteristics in women after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma

Dietlind L. Wahner-Roedler, Ivy A. Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Radiotherapy is important in the treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma. Although the risk of recurrent Hodgkin lymphoma decreases in long-term survivors, the incidence of radiation-induced cancers increases with time. Breast cancer is the main long-term concern for women. Risk factors associated with breast cancer development include age at irradiation, time since treatment and radiation dose received. The risk of developing breast cancer appears to be limited to women treated before age 30 years. The median time to breast cancer after radiotherapy is 15 years. Higher radiation doses are associated with higher risks. While the histology of breast cancers occurring after treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma appears similar to that of spontaneously occurring breast cancers, the age at diagnosis in these women is significantly younger, often at an age before regular breast screening is implemented. In this article, we review findings from retrospective studies on Hodgkin lymphoma and breast cancer including the risk factors, breast cancer characteristics, breast cancer management and options for primary and secondary prevention. The treatment goals for young female patients with Hodgkin lymphoma include: 1) manipulation of radiation dose and fields without compromising the outcome of the primary malignancy; 2) possible reversible manipulation of hormonal status without permanent effects on fertility; and 3) development of nonsurgical options for primary prevention of radiation-induced breast cancers. Carefully designed studies addressing these strategies and their interplay are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)865-879
Number of pages15
JournalDrugs of Today
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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