A gene expression-based model predicts outcome in children with intermediate-risk classical Hodgkin lymphoma

Rebecca L. Johnston, Anja Mottok, Fong Chun Chan, Aixiang Jiang, Arjan Diepstra, Lydia Visser, Adele Telenius, Randy D. Gascoyne, Debra L. Friedman, Cindy L. Schwartz, Kara M. Kelly, David W. Scott, Terzah M. Horton, Christian Steidl*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (cHL) is a common malignancy in children and adolescents. Although cHL is highly curable, treatment with chemotherapy and radiation often come at the cost of long-term toxicity and morbidity. Effective risk-stratification tools are needed to tailor therapy. Here, we used gene expression profiling (GEP) to investigate tumor microenvironment (TME) biology, to determine molecular correlates of treatment failure, and to develop an outcome model prognostic for pediatric cHL. A total of 246 formalinfixed, paraffin-embedded tissue biopsies from patients enrolled in the Children's Oncology Group trial AHOD0031 were used for GEP and compared with adult cHL data. Eosinophil, B-cell, and mast cell signatures were enriched in children, whereas macrophage and stromal signatures were more prominent in adults. Concordantly, a previously published model for overall survival prediction in adult cHL did not validate in pediatric cHL. Therefore, we developed a 9-cellular component model reflecting TME composition to predict event-free survival (EFS). In an independent validation cohort, we observed a significant difference in weighted 5-year EFS between high-risk and low-risk groups (75.2% vs 90.3%; log-rank P 5 .0138) independent of interim response, stage, fever, and albumin. We demonstrate unique disease biology in children and adolescents that can be harnessed for risk-stratification at diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-893
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Early online date18-Oct-2021
Publication statusPublished - 10-Feb-2022



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