A recent study examined possible increased relapse risk for patients with Hodgkin lymphoma who become pregnant.

The research team, based at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, reviewed the records of 449 Swedish women who had received a Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) diagnosis between 1992 and 2009. Incident cases were found utilizing the nationwide Swedish Cancer Register. The women ranged in age from 18 to 40 years and follow-up was conducted 6 months following diagnosis, at which time their disease was assumed to be in remission.1

The researchers classified a relapse as pregnancy-related if it occurred during pregnancy or within 5 years postdelivery. The women were classified as nulliparous (no record of childbirth until the end of the follow-up), parous with pregnancy during follow-up, or parous without pregnancy during follow-up.

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One hundred seventy-eight women were nulliparous, 127 were classified as parous without pregnancy during follow-up, and 144 had 1 or more pregnancies during the follow-up period.

A total of 47 relapses were reported to have occurred during the follow-up period, 1 of which occurred in a woman with a recent pregnancy. Women exposed to a recent pregnancy were found to have a relapse rate slightly lower than that of women who did not, but the difference was not considered statistically significant.

The investigators did not observe an increased relapse rate related to pregnancy, a finding consistent with an earlier 1988 French study. The team surmised that the healthy mother effect could be partially responsible for the lack of additional relapses related to pregnancy. Data from this study were reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.


1. Weibull CE, Eloranta S, Smedby KE, et al. Pregnancy and the risk of relapse in patients diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma [published online ahead of print December 14, 2015]. J Clin Oncol. doi:10.1200/JCO.2015.63.3446.