Introduction Bleomycin is a major antimitotic agent in the first-line treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The main limitation of its use is its pulmonary toxicity. The objectives of this study are to find out the risk factors for the occurrence of bleomycin-induced lung toxicity in patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and, on the other hand, to determine if positron emission tomography scan is a reliable means of early detection of this toxicity. Methods This is a retrospective study conducted in the clinical Hematology Department of Mohammed V Military Instruction Hospital, Rabat, Morocco. All patients with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and treated with a bleomycin-based chemotherapy were included. The impact of different clinical and biological factors on the risk of bleomycin-induced lung toxicity occurrence was assessed using univariate and multivariate logistic regression. The benefit of positron emission tomography, usually performed as part of the re-assessment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma after two and four cycles, has been evaluated in the detection of bleomycin-induced lung toxicity. Results Among 124 patients included in the study, 18 (14.5%) patients experienced bleomycin-induced lung toxicity. On multivariate analysis, smoking (p = 0.038) and the use of the ABVD regimen (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) compared to the escalated BEACOPPe regimen (bleomycin, etoposide, doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone) (p = 0.018) were statistically significant risk factors. After two and four courses of therapy, the positron emission tomography was able to predict the occurrence of bleomycin-induced lung toxicity before the appearance of clinical symptoms only in 36.4 % and 12.5% of patients, respectively. Conclusion Studies to identify risk factors for the development of bleomycin-induced lung toxicity are crucial to reduce toxicity in the treatment of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. However, two- and four-cycle positron emission tomography scans cannot be considered as a reliable means of early detection of this toxicity.
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