With the use of combined modality therapy for early stage disease and a risk-adapted approach for advanced stage disease, nearly 90% of patients with Hodgkin's lymphoma are cured with initial therapy. However, in patients who have primary refractory or relapsed disease, high-dose therapy and autologous stem cell transplantation is the best curative option. The use of peripheral blood progenitor cells has decreased transplant related mortality to less than 3%; but long-term progression-free survival as increased minimally. Although prognostic factors have been used to tailor therapy in de novo Hodgkin's lymphoma their utility in the relapsed-refractory setting has not been exploited. This update will discuss these important prognostic factors and try to guide oncologists in treatment decisions in this setting.
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