According to Dutch researchers, aged Hodgkin's lymphoma patients with latent Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection of tumor cells show adverse outcomes.

This study indicates that positive tumor cell EBV status in older adult patients with classical Hodgkin’s lymphoma is associated with first-line treatment failure, told lead investigator Dr. Arjan Diepstra.

This conclusion was made by Dr. Diepstra of University Medical Center Groningen and colleagues after studying 431 patients who were a median of 35 years old at diagnosis. They were followed for a median of 7.1 years and 34% were positive for EBV.

However, survival of patients between 50 and 74 years old was influenced by EBV. Failure-free survival at 5 years was 60% in EBV-positive patients and 85% in EBV-negative patients. Corresponding proportions for 5-year relative survival were 69% and 82%.

The EBV effect on failure-free survival remained significant (hazard ratio, 3.11) after adjustment for factors such as histology, stage and presence of extranodal localizations and treatment.

Given these findings, Dr. Diepstra concluded that clinical trials are needed to determine whether these patients could benefit from adapted treatment strategies.