Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Definition of non-Hodgkin lymphoma: Any of a large group of cancers of lymphocytes (white blood cells). Non-Hodgkin lymphomas can occur at any age and are often marked by lymph nodes that are larger than normal, fever, and weight loss. There are many different types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. These types can be divided into aggressive (fast-growing) and indolent (slow-growing) types, and they can be formed from either B-cells or T-cells. B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include Burkitt lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, follicular lymphoma, immunoblastic large cell lymphoma, precursor B-lymphoblastic lymphoma, and mantle cell lymphoma. T-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas include mycosis fungoides, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and precursor T-lymphoblastic lymphoma. Lymphomas that occur after bone marrow or stem cell transplantation are usually B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Prognosis and treatment depend on the stage and type of disease. Also called NHL.

Estimated new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States in 2016: 81,080

Lymphoma, including Hodgkin lymphoma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), is the most common blood cancer in the United States and is estimated to represent approximately 5 percent of all new cancers diagnosed in the United States in 2014. Incidence rates are higher for whites than for African Americans or other racial/ethnic groups in the United States.

Risk factors for both Hodgkin lymphoma and NHL include being male, having a weakened immune system, or being infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or Epstein-Barr virus. Infection with Helicobacter pylori or human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type 1 (HTLV-1) increases the risk for certain types of NHL. The risk of NHL increases with age. Standard treatments for both types of lymphoma are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and stem cell transplant. Additional standard therapies include immunotherapy, targeted therapy, plasmapheresis, watchful waiting andbiological therapy for NHL.

Adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma may be described as follows:

  • E: “E” stands for extranodal and means the cancer is found in an area or organ other than thelymph nodes or has spread to tissues beyond, but near, the major lymphatic areas.
  • S: “S” stands for spleen and means the cancer is found in the spleen.

The following stages are used for adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma:

Stage I

Stage I adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma is divided into stage I and stage IE.

Stage II

Stage II adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma is divided into stage II and stage IIE.

  • Stage II: Cancer is found in two or more lymph node groups either above or below thediaphragm (the thin muscle below the lungs that helps breathing and separates the chest from the abdomen).
  • Stage IIE: Cancer is found in one or more lymph node groups either above or below thediaphragm. Cancer is also found outside the lymph nodes in one organ or area on the same side of the diaphragm as the affected lymph nodes.

Stage III

Stage III adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma is divided into stage III, stage IIIE, stage IIIS, and stage IIIE+S.

Stage IV

In stage IV adult non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the cancer:

  • is found throughout one or more organs that are not part of a lymphatic area (lymph nodegroup, tonsils and nearby tissue, thymus, or spleen), and may be in lymph nodes near those organs; or
  • is found in one organ that is not part of a lymphatic area and has spread to organs or lymph nodes far away from that organ; or
  • is found in the liver, bone marrow, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), or lungs (other than cancer that has spread to the lungs from nearby areas).

Adult non-Hodgkin lymphomas are also described based on how fast they grow and where the affected lymph nodes are in the body.

Indolent or aggressive:

Contiguous or noncontiguous:

All information was taken from the NCI (National Cancer Institute)