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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

An elevated serum beta-2-microglobulin level is an adverse prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with early-stage Hodgkin disease.

BACKGROUND: The relative importance of prognostic factors in patients with early-stage Hodgkin disease remains controversial. The purpose of this study was to evaluate prognostic factors among patients who received chemotherapy before radiotherapy. METHODS: From 1987 to 1995, 217 consecutive patients ranging in age from 16 to 88 years (median, 28 years) with Ann Arbor Stage I (n = 55) or II (n = 162) Hodgkin disease underwent chemotherapy before radiotherapy at a single center. Most were treated on prospective studies. Patients received a median of three cycles of induction chemotherapy. Mitoxantrone, vincristine, vinblastine, and prednisone (NOVP), doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine (ABVD), mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone (MOPP), cyclophosphamide, vinblastine, procarbazine, prednisone, doxorubicin, bleomycin, dacarbazine, and CCNU (CVPP/ABDIC), or other chemotherapeutic regimens were given to 160, 18, 15, 10, and 14 patients, respectively. The median radiotherapy dose was 40 Gy. Serum beta-2-microglobulin (beta-2M) levels ranged from 1.0 to 4.1 mg/L (median, 1.7 mg/L; upper limit of normal, 2.0 mg/L). We studied univariate and multivariate associations between survival and the following clinical features: serum beta-2M level above 1.25 times the upper limit of normal (n = 12), male gender (n = 113), hypoalbuminemia (n = 11), and bulky mediastinal disease (n = 94). RESULTS: Follow-up of surviving patients ranged from 0.9 to 13.4 years (median, 6.6 years) and 92% were observed for 3.0 or more years. Nineteen patients have died. Only elevation of the serum beta-2M level was an independent adverse prognostic factor for overall survival (P = 0.0009). CONCLUSIONS: The prognostic significance of a simple, widely available, and inexpensive blood test, beta-2M, has not been studied routinely in patients with Hodgkin disease and should be tested prospectively in large, cooperative group trials.[1]


  1. An elevated serum beta-2-microglobulin level is an adverse prognostic factor for overall survival in patients with early-stage Hodgkin disease. Chronowski, G.M., Wilder, R.B., Tucker, S.L., Ha, C.S., Sarris, A.H., Hagemeister, F.B., Barista, I., Hess, M.A., Cabanillas, F., Cox, J.D. Cancer (2002) [Pubmed]
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