Lymphoma - Hodgkin - Childhood: Latest Research

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 05/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will read about the scientific research being done to learn more about Hodgkin lymphoma and how to treat it. Use the menu to see other pages.

Doctors are working to learn more about Hodgkin lymphoma, ways to prevent it, how to best treat it, and how to provide the best care to children and adolescents diagnosed with this disease. The following areas of research may include new options for patients through clinical trials. Always talk with your child’s doctor about the best diagnostic and treatment options for your child.

  • Targeted therapy. Targeted therapy is a treatment that targets specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival. As mentioned in Types of Treatment, recent studies are evaluating antibodies—such as brentuximab vedotin—directed against proteins on the Hodgkin lymphoma cells. Learn more about the basics of targeted treatments.

  • Immunotherapy. Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is designed to boost the body's natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses materials made either by the body or in a laboratory to improve, target, or restore immune system function. As outlined in the Types of Treatment section, drugs such as pembrolizumab (Keytruda) and nivolumab (Opdivo) are specific types of immunotherapy called immune checkpoint inhibitors that target a specific pathway called PD-1 to treat childhood Hodgkin lymphoma. Learn more about the basics of immunotherapy.

  • ALLO transplantation. As explained in the Types of Treatment section, stem cell/bone marrow transplantation is sometimes used to treat Hodgkin lymphoma. Doctors are researching increasing the use of transplantation, including ALLO transplants using donor blood stem cells to replace the patient’s bone marrow.

  • Personalized treatments. The major goal of Hodgkin lymphoma research is to continue to maintain and/or improve treatment effectiveness while reducing long-term side effects. More sophisticated ways to measure the disease's early response to treatment are being studied as a way of tailoring therapy to each patient. Based on how the disease responds to the treatment, some individuals may require less therapy, while others may need more intensive therapy, sometimes including radiation therapy. Understanding what specific treatments an individual needs will be important for balancing the treatment effectiveness and side effects for each patient.

  • Palliative care/supportive care. Clinical trials are underway to find better ways of reducing symptoms and side effects of current Hodgkin lymphoma treatments in order to improve comfort and quality of life for patients.

Looking for More About Latest Research?

If you would like additional information about the latest areas of research regarding Hodgkin lymphoma, explore these related items that take you outside of this guide:

The next section in this guide is Coping with Treatment. It offers some guidance on how to cope with the physical, emotional, social, and financial changes that cancer and its treatment can bring. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.