The significance of the residual mediastinal mass in treated Hodgkin's disease
The chest roentgenograms of 65 patients treated for Hodgkin's disease with mediastinal adenopathy were analyzed retrospectively to determine the incidence and significance of residual mediastinal abnormality after treatment. All patients were treated with radiation therapy, and 36 patients received additional chemotherapy. On completion of treatment, 57 (88%) of the 65 patients had some residual mediastinal abnormality. These were either minimal changes in the mediastinal shadow in 30 patients or a widening greater than 6 cm in 27 patients. In the latter group, 11 (40%) of 27 patients continued to have residual mediastinal widening one year after completion of therapy. These patients did not have a higher incidence of recurrence. Long-term follow-up (median, 48 months) revealed continued abnormalities in 24 (40%) of the original 57 patients. Mediastinal abnormalities are common at the end of radiation or combined modality therapy for Hodgkin's disease and do not by themselves indicate persistent active disease or an increased risk for relapse. We strongly recommend that additional chemotherapy or higher radiation doses beyond the initially planned course not be used for residual mediastinal widening.