How Does Hodgkin Lymphoma Differ With Age?

How Does Hodgkin Lymphoma Differ With Age? 150 150 Pam Georgiana

A new study reveals age-related differences in pathology and medical management.

When Anthony N. Audino, MD, a pediatric oncologist in the Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology/BMT at Nationwide Children’s, first met a preschool-aged patient with Hodgkin lymphoma, he was surprised.

“It was startling to see someone so young with this disease because it’s typically diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35 or after 55,” Dr. Audino explains. “Consequently, there’s very little available data on treating this young a child with Hodgkin lymphoma.”

The case sparked an interest in learning more about Hodgkin lymphoma and how it presents in very young patients. Dr. Audino and his research team wanted to understand if the disease had similar pathology in children as adults, how doctors prescribe treatments based on age, and if different therapies led to diverse side effects.

Their retrospective research study, published in Pediatric Hematology Oncology, included more than 3,000 patients in 49 pediatric hospitals across the United States. Each patient was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma and had undergone chemotherapy. Patients were compared in age groups: 5 and under, 6 to 10 years, 11 to 15 years, and 15 and older.

The study documented a trend towards occurrence in more males than females in young patients (about 70%), while older age groups were closer to 50%/50%. There were also a more significant number of Hispanic and Latino patients in the younger patient population. There is no documented explanation for these occurrences.

In terms of treatment, there were age-related differences in medical management. For example, a higher proportion of certain classes of drug therapies were prescribed to younger patients with fewer complications. Overall, older patients had more complications from chemotherapy than the younger population, including mucositis, pain, bacterial infections, and thrombosis.

“The results of this study confirmed for me that tailoring existing therapies to patients’ age, diagnosis, and relative health may effectively increase their survival rate, while decreasing adverse effects,” Dr. Audino says. “However, more research is needed to develop targeted therapies and immunotherapies specifically for this young patient population.”

This study is one of the largest research studies evaluating age-related differences in patients with Hodgkin lymphoma and one of the first to assess differences in complications and supportive care management.


Kendel NE, Stanek JR, Willen FK, Audino AN. Characterizing age-related differences in Hodgkin lymphoma in children, adolescents and young adults. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. Published online April 8, 2024. doi:10.1080/08880018.2024.2337627

About the author

Pam Georgiana is a brand marketing professional and writer located in Bexley, Ohio. She believes that words bind us together as humans and that the best stories remind us of our humanity. She specialized in telling engaging stories for healthcare, B2B services, and nonprofits using classic storytelling techniques. Pam has earned an MBA in Marketing from Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.