Hodgkin lymphoma can be cured or controlled for many years in most people who have the disease.
Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) experts offer comprehensive Hodgkin lymphoma treatment, including advanced therapies and new options available only through clinical studies.
A diagnosis of cancer can feel overwhelming. We have an experienced, compassionate team ready to help.
Hodgkin lymphoma expertise at SCCA
Everything you need is here
We have world-class medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, hematologists and pathologists who specialize in lymphoma; the most advanced diagnostic, treatment and recovery programs; and extensive support.
Innovative Hodgkin lymphoma therapies
SCCA is a world leader in lymphoma research. Our doctors and scientists pioneered bone marrow transplant — used for lymphoma that’s not cured with initial treatment or that comes back — and we advance new therapies every day.
Hodgkin lymphoma treatment tailored to you
We view Hodgkin lymphoma treatment as a collaborative effort. Your SCCA doctor will explain all your options and recommend a treatment plan based on the precise type and stage of your lymphoma and your health, lifestyle and preferences.
Your personal team includes an oncologist and nurse case manager. Additional experts who specialize in treating people with cancer will be involved if you need them — experts like an infectious disease doctor, pulmonologist, palliative care professional, geneticist, social worker, physical therapist or dietitian.
Ongoing care and support
Measures to decrease symptoms and improve quality of life are part of every patient’s care. After treatment, your team continues to provide follow-up care on a schedule tailored to you. The SCCA Survivorship Clinic is also here to help you live your healthiest life as a Hodgkin lymphoma survivor.
Chemotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma
Hodgkin lymphoma is most often treated with chemotherapy. Sometimes this is the only treatment needed, but it may be combined with radiation therapy.
Chemotherapy drugs are usually given through an intravenous (IV) line in repeating cycles that range from two to six weeks.
Your SCCA team will talk with you about the specific drugs we recommend for you, how you’ll receive them, your treatment schedule and what to expect. We’ll also explain how to take the best possible care of yourself during and after treatment, and we’ll connect you with medical and support resources throughout SCCA.
For Hodgkin lymphoma, many of our patients receive a combination of drugs called ABVD:
- Doxorubicin hydrochloride (Adriamycin)
- Bleomycin (Blenoxane)
- Vinblastine sulfate (Velban, Velsar)
- Dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome)
For patients with the most aggressive forms of Hodgkin lymphoma, we may use other combinations.
Learn more about chemotherapy in our medical oncology section.
Radiation therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma
Depending on the type of lymphoma you have and whether or where it has spread, your doctor may recommend external-beam radiation therapy, alone or in combination with chemotherapy.
For Hodgkin lymphoma, doctors most often use radiation to treat cancer in the spleen or in the lymph nodes in the neck, chest, armpits or groin.
We will tailor your radiation treatment to your specific situation.
Learn more in our radiation oncology section.
Targeted therapy for Hodgkin lymphoma
Targeted therapies are newer cancer treatments that work more selectively than standard chemotherapy. They target a gene or protein responsible for allowing cancer to grow, they seek out and damage cancer cells or they prompt your immune system to attack particular cells (also called immunotherapy).
For relapsed Hodgkin lymphoma, doctors use the targeted therapy brentuximab vedotin (Adcetris) along with standard chemotherapy. Brentuximab works like a Trojan horse. It enters cancer cells and then releases a toxin that interferes with the cell’s ability to reproduce.
Learn more about targeted therapy in our medical oncology section.
Immunotherapy for Hodgkin lymphoma
For classic Hodgkin lymphoma that progresses or comes back after other treatments, immunotherapy may be an option. Nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) are antibody therapies that may increase your immune system’s anti-cancer response by blocking “off signals” on your T cells.
Learn more about immunotherapy at SCCA.
Bone marrow transplant for Hodgkin lymphoma
If initial treatment doesn’t cure your lymphoma or your disease recurs, your doctor may recommend a bone marrow transplant.
Most transplant recipients with Hodgkin lymphoma have a transplant using their own stem cells (autologous transplant).
- First your stem cells are collected, frozen and stored.
- Next you receive strong chemotherapy (and possibly radiation therapy) to attack your cancer cells, destroy or suppress your immune system and prevent your body from forming new blood cells.
- Then your stored stem cells are thawed and returned to your bloodstream to restart your body’s ability to form blood cells again.
If your lymphoma is very aggressive and chemotherapy has not shrunk your tumors, an autologous transplant is usually not an option. In this case, patients have a transplant using cells from a donor (allogeneic transplant).
More people are eligible for allogeneic transplants than ever before, due to advances available at SCCA, such as:
- Non-myeloablative (reduced-intensity) transplants, which use lower-dose chemotherapy
- Transplants using stem cells from donated umbilical cord blood or haploidentical (half-matched) donors
Clinical trials for Hodgkin lymphoma
For some people, taking part in a clinical study may be the best treatment choice. Access to clinical studies by researchers at SCCA and our founding organizations Fred Hutch and UW Medicine is one reason many patients come to SCCA.
SCCA researchers are studying new combinations of chemotherapy drugs to find the most effective combinations for different types of Hodgkin lymphoma.