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Milan, Italy: Patients with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma who have large tumours at the time of diagnosis may benefit from radiotherapy after chemotherapy even when all traces of the cancer appear to have gone, according to late breaking results presented at the ESTRO 38 conference today (Monday).

Approximately 65-70% of patients with advanced stage Hodgkin’s lymphoma can be cured by receiving six cycles of ABVD chemotherapy (which includes doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine), with or without subsequent radiotherapy. Currently, however, the addition of radiotherapy is controversial.

In a statement before the conference, Dr Mario Levis, a co-author of the study, who is a radiation oncologist at the University of Turin, Italy, explained: “These patients can often have four or five decades of life expectancy ahead of them but, given this cure rate, the cancer treatment can result in a high risk of complications for many long-term survivors. For this reason, it’s important that we give patients the most effective treatment for curing their cancer, while, at the same time, trying to keep the toxic side effects to a minimum.”

To investigate whether radiotherapy after ABVD chemotherapy provided any benefit to these patients, researchers in several centres in Italy, led by

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