Patients with clinical Stage I and II Hodgkin's disease have been managed at the Princess Margaret Hospital for over 20 years, without the use of routine staging laparotomy. Our experience identified as adverse prognostic factors presence of a large mediastinal mass, B symptoms, and advanced age in presence of unfavorable histology (20). We had suggested previously that the use of extended field radiation therapy (XRT) was associated with a lower risk of relapse than involved field XRT or mantle XRT. There has been a trend over the past decade to select those patients with favorable prognostic factors for treatment with XRT alone and to use mantle plus upper abdominal XRT (extended field XRT) to treat them. A retrospective study of patients with clinical Stage I and II Hodgkin's disease treated at the Princess Margaret Hospital between 1978 and 1986 was conducted to determine the impact of patient selection and extended field radiation on outcome. The study involved 250 patients with supradiaphragmatic disease selected for treatment with radiation alone on the absence of adverse prognostic factors. Radiation techniques included involved field radiation in selected patients (those with upper neck involvement), mantle radiation in the earlier years, and mantle plus upper abdominal radiation in the later years of the study. Actuarial survival was 83.3% at 8 years; cause-specific survival was 90.1% and the relapse-free rate 71.6%. Local tumor control was 94.6%; only two patients had true infield failure. Multivariate analysis showed that significant prognostic factors included age, histology, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Extent of the radiation treatment volume was significant and influenced the risk of relapse, particularly out-of-field relapse, independently of other factors. A dose of 35 Gy was found to be sufficient for control of clinical disease. This study validated a previously developed model for the selection of clinically staged patients with Stage I and II Hodgkin's disease for treatment with radiation alone. Careful selection of these patients can yield excellent results without requiring that staging laparotomy be routinely performed or the use of systemic chemotherapy as the initial treatment.