Although transformation to Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) is a recognized complication in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), its incidence, clinical characteristics and outcomes are not well defined. We used the Mayo Clinic CLL and Lymphoma Databases to identify CLL patients who developed biopsy-proven HL (CLL/HL) on follow-up, as well as cases of de novo HL (i.e., without prior CLL). Among 3887 CLL patients seen at Mayo Clinic from January 1995 through August 2011, 26 (0.7%) developed HL. In a nested cohort of 2,465 newly diagnosed CLL patients followed prospectively, the incidence of HL was 0.05%/year (10 year risk=0.5%). The median overall survival (OS) from date of HL diagnosis in patients with CLL/HL was 3.9 years compared to not reached for de novo HL patients (n=709) seen during the same time interval (P<0.001). The shorter OS of CLL/HL patients persisted after adjusting for differences in age and Ann Arbor stage of disease. The International Prognostic score (IPS) developed for de novo HL stratified prognosis among CLL/HL patients with median survival of not reached, 6.2, 2.4, and 0.3 years (P=0.006) for those with IPS scores of ≤2, 3, 4, and ≥5, respectively. In summary, approximately 1 of every 200 CLL patients will develop HL within 10 years. Survival after HL diagnosis in patients with CLL is shorter than de novo HL patients. The IPS for de novo HL may be useful for stratifying survival in CLL/HL patients.
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