10 January 2019
Anticancer regimens for Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) patients include highly genotoxic drugs that have been very successful in killing tumor cells and providing a 90% disease-free survival at five years. However, some of these treatments do not have a specific cell target, damaging both cancerous and normal cells. Thus, HL survivors have a high risk of developing new primary cancers, both hematologic and solid tumors, which have been related to treatment. Several studies have shown that after treatment, HL patients and survivors present persistent chromosomal instability, including nonclonal chromosomal aberrations. The frequency and type of chromosomal abnormalities appear to depend on the type of therapy and the cell type examined. For example, MOPP chemotherapy affects hematopoietic and germ stem cells leading to long-term genotoxic effects and azoospermia, while ABVD chemotherapy affects transiently sperm cells, with most of the patients showing recovery of spermatogenesis. Both regimens have long-term effects in somatic cells, presenting nonclonal chromosomal aberrations and genomic chaos in a fraction of noncancerous cells. This is a source of karyotypic heterogeneity that could eventually generate a more stable population acquiring clonal chromosomal aberrations and leading towards the development of a new cancer.