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Does a drop in CD4 signify relapsed Hodgkins?
Feb 8, 2003

Hello Dr. Dezube: My partner was successfully treated for Stage 2B Hodgkins last year (Feb thru May 2002). He's had 2 CAT scans since June 02, both clear. All throughout chemo and even now his VL remained suppressed. CD4 dropped to 71 (9%) during chemo but back up to 280 (19%) this past November. Last bloodwork (1/03) showed VL remained suppressed but CD4 now 210 (13%). Big percentage drop, not a "meds" problem since VL hasn't climbed. We're afraid this could mean the Hodgkins is back. He feels great. No night sweats, no fatigue, no fever. 2 questions: Can the drop in CD4 be signaling a relapse of the Hodgkins? And what's the success rate for people doing a second round of chemo? Thanks a lot. Brian

Response from Dr. Dezube

Dear Brian: A drop in CD4 count or CD4 percentage usually does NOT signify recurrent Hodgkin's disease. In fact, nothing in your query seems to be too worrisome. Your partner is without night sweats, fatigue, and fever. In the unlikely event that your partner's Hodgkin's disease returns, he still my get a second chance with a second round of chemotherapy. Fortunately Hodgkin's disease responds quite well to therapy.

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