In a nutshell
This study investigated whether interleukin-2 receptor levels in the blood influenced the outcomes of patients with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma (cHL). This study concluded that this can be a useful tool for predicting prognosis for these patients.
Chemotherapy remains the standard first-line treatment for HL. One of the most commonly used regimens is ABVD (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, dacarbazine). For most patients, first-line treatment is highly effective. However, 10 – 15% of patients with early-stage disease experience relapse or develop refractory disease. This rate can be up to 30% for patients with advanced-stage disease.
Determining the best treatment strategy for these patients can be difficult. This usually involves predicting prognosis, or outcomes after treatment. One way to do this is to measure the levels of certain molecules in the body. These molecules are called biomarkers. Interleukin-2 (IL2) is one biomarker under investigation. High levels of IL2 in the blood can be a sign of inflammation in the body. Whether IL2 levels can predict outcomes for patients with cHL is unclear.
Methods & findings
This study had 70 patients with cHL. All patients received ABVD chemotherapy with or without radiotherapy. Levels of IL2 in the blood were measured before and after treatment. Before treatment, 65.7% of patients had low IL2 levels and 34.3% had high IL2 levels. Patients were followed-up for an average of 5.4 years.
Overall, 85.7% of patients had a complete disappearance of all signs of cancer after treatment. This rate was higher for patients with low IL2 levels compared to patients with high IL2 levels (91.3% vs. 75.0%). Significantly more patients with high IL2 levels had the cancer come back compared to patients with low IL2 levels (100% vs. 56.1%).
Significantly more patients with low IL2 levels were still alive 5 years later compared to patients with high IL2 levels (94.7% vs. 67.6%). Significantly more of these patients were still alive without tumor growth or spread (90.4% vs. 44.1%).
Having high levels of IL2 in the blood was significantly associated with a 5.98-fold higher mortality risk. It was also significantly associated with a 6.49-fold higher risk of tumor growth or spread. For patients with advanced-stage disease, this risk was 6 times higher.
The bottom line
This study concluded that a high IL2 level in the blood was associated with poor outcomes in patients with cHL. The authors suggest that high IL2 levels may also help predict cancer recurrence (relapse).
The fine print
This was a very small study. Also, this study was retrospective, meaning it looked back in time to analyze data. This may limit the conclusions that may be drawn from these results. Larger studies are needed to confirm these results.
Published By :
Annals of Hematology
Jun 25, 2019
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