• Hodgkin disease;
  • non-Hodgkin lymphoma;
  • childhood cancer;
  • late effects of therapy;
  • body-mass index;
  • body composition



Sex hormone deficiency or growth hormone deficiency may cause excess fatness after treatment for childhood malignant lymphoma. Previous studies of the body composition after treatment for childhood cancer included few survivors of malignant lymphoma who were not analysed separately.


We measured the whole-body percent fat by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) and the body-mass index (weight/height2 (kg/m2), BMI) in survivors of childhood Hodgkin disease (n = 23) or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (n = 21) a median of 11 years after diagnosis (range 2–25). Results were compared with local data on 463 healthy controls.


Adjusted for sex and age, the mean BMI did not differ from that of local controls, but the mean whole-body percent fat was significantly increased (0.8 SD above predicted, P = 0.0001). Sixteen of 44 participants had a percent fat above the 90 percentile of the reference values, which indicates excess fatness. Adjusted for sex and age, percent fat was significantly higher in persons treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Controlled for this, the whole-body percent fat was not significantly related to sex, age at diagnosis, length of follow-up, sex hormone therapy at follow-up or the cumulative dose of corticosteroids or doxorubicin.


Eleven years after diagnosis of childhood Hodgkin disease or non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the whole-body percent fat was increased whereas the BMI was like that of the controls. This indicates a reduced lean body mass. Med Pediatr Oncol 2003;40:239–243. © 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.