The use of exploratory laparotomy and splenectomy has been widely adopted for the evaluation and staging of patients with Hodgkin's disease. The greatest value of the surgical procedure is to provide accurate assessment of involvement of the spleen. Although rare, in unselected untreated patients, liver involvement cannot be accurately determined without histological confirmation. Minor advantages of the procedure include supplementary information concerning the status of abdominal lymph nodes and facilitation of radiotherapy programs and possibly of chemotherapy programs. Other than as an investigative approach, the major value of the surgical procedure is to provide better diagnostic information, primarily concerning the spleen, and this is of value primarily if decisions regarding therapy are dependent on the demonstration of splenic involvement.

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Studies described herein were done in collaboration with Dr. Henry S. Kaplan and were supported by Grants CA-05838 and CA-08122 from the National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Md. 20014.

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