22 December 2017

A recent national survey conducted by the BSH Lymphoma Specialist Interest Group (SIG) has revealed disparity in the treatment patterns of Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the elderly.

Dr Nicola Redding, who was involved with the survey, detailed the findings: “The management of the disease in older patients is highly variable throughout the UK. The main areas lacking in consensus surround the management of patients of more advanced age and frailty.

“To demonstrate, fourteen different treatment protocols were proposed by the survey responders for a theoretical case involving a fit 76 year old with early favourable disease.

"As well as variation in individual protocols adopted, there is also marked discrepancy in the use of bleomycin and radiotherapy."

Leading the survey, Dr Wendy Osborne highlighted the importance of these results: "Older patients are excluded from both the determination of prognostic scores and the majority of clinical trials.

"This survey clearly demonstrates that there is no UK  standard practice for the treatment of older patients with Hodgkin lymphoma. Including older patients in more front line trials may improve upon the disproportionately poor outcome and identify a standard of care."

The findings were presented at the national joint meeting held by the BSH lymphoma SIG and British Lymphoma pathology group in October 2017.