The International Prognostic Score (IPS) and circulating levels of the soluble form of CD30 molecule (sCD30) have both been associated with poor outcome in patients with advanced Hodgkin's lymphoma (HL). The aim of this study was to assess the prognostic power of the combined evaluation of sCD30 and IPS in these patients. PATIENTS AND METHODS: We included 101 patients with advanced HL, treated with ABVD (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine) or MOPP (mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine and prednisone)/ABVD chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. All were tested for pre-treatment sCD30 levels. RESULTS: Six-year estimated overall survival (OS) and failure-free survival (FFS) was 89% +/- 3% and 75% +/- 4%, respectively. Thirty-three patients (33%) had IPS >2; their FFS was 60% compared with 82% in the remaining patients (P = 0.027). Serum sCD30 levels were > or =100 U/ml in 41 (41%) patients; their FFS at 6 years was 58%, compared with 87% in patients with sCD30 <100 U/ml (P = 0.003). In the 18 patients with both sCD30 > or =100 U/ml and IPS >2, FFS was significantly worse (44%) than in patients with low sCD30 and low IPS (89%) (P <0.001) or with only one of the two adverse prognostic factors (73%) (P = 0.03). CONCLUSIONS: In our study, the combination of IPS >2 and serum sCD30 levels > or =100 U/ml identifies a sizeable subgroup (18%) of advanced HL patients with very poor FFS, who might take advantage of intensified up-front treatment strategies
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