Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

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Non-Hodgkin's Lymphomas (NHL)
Classification and external resources
Mantle cell lymphoma - intermed mag.jpg
Micrograph of mantle cell lymphoma, a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Terminal ileum. H&E stain.
ICD-10 C82-C85
ICD-9 200, 202
ICD-O: 9591/3
OMIM 605027
DiseasesDB 9065
MedlinePlus 000581
eMedicine med/1363 ped/1343
MeSH D008228

The non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHLs) are diverse group of blood cancers that include any kind of lymphoma except Hodgkin's lymphomas.[1] Types of NHL vary significantly in their severity, from indolent to very aggressive.

Lymphomas are types of cancer derived from lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell. Lymphomas are treated by combinations of chemotherapy, monoclonal antibodies (CD20), immunotherapy, radiation, and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.

Non-Hodgkin lymphomas were classified according to the 1982 Working Formulation which recognizes 16 types. The Working Formulation is now considered obsolete, and the classification is commonly used primarily for statistical comparisons with previous decades. The Working Formulation has been superseded twice.

The latest lymphoma classification, the 2008 WHO classification, largely abandoned the "Hodgkin" vs. "Non-Hodgkin" grouping. Instead, it lists over 80 different forms of lymphomas in four broad groups.[2]


The many different forms of lymphoma likely have different causes. These possible causes and associations with at least some forms of NHL include:

Some studies have shown an association between non-Hodgkin lymphoma and exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a persistent organic pollutant now found throughout the natural environment.[6][7] However, other similar studies have found no such link.[8][9][10] Studies of PCB workers have uniformly shown no statistically significant increased rates of deaths from non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.[11][12][13][14][15][16] In 2013, The International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC) determined that the evidence that PCBs cause non-Hodgkin Lymphoma is “limited” and “not consistent.” [17]


Non-Hodgkin lymphoma resulted in 210,000 deaths globally in 2010 up from 143,000 in 1990.[18]


Hodgkin lymphoma (HL, Hodgkin disease), described by Thomas Hodgkin in 1832, was the first form of lymphoma described and defined. Other forms were later described and there was a need to classify them. Because Hodgkin lymphoma was much more radiation-sensitive than other forms, its diagnosis was important for oncologists and their patients. Thus, research originally focused on it. The first classification of Hodgkin lymphoma was proposed by Robert J. Luke in 1963.

While consensus was rapidly reached on the classification of Hodgkin lymphoma, there remained a large group of very different diseases requiring further classification. The Rappaport classification, proposed by Henry Rappaport in 1956 and 1966, became the first widely accepted classification of lymphomas other than Hodgkin. Following its publication in 1982, the Working Formulation became the standard classification for this group of diseases. It introduced the term non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and defined three grades of lymphoma.

However, NHL consists of 16 different conditions that have little in common with each other. They are grouped by their aggressiveness. Less aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas are compatible with a long survival while more aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphomas can be rapidly fatal without treatment. Without further narrowing, the label is of limited usefulness for patients or doctors.

Modern usage of term[edit]

Nevertheless, the Working Formulation and the NHL category continue to be used by many. To this day, lymphoma statistics are compiled as Hodgkin's vs non-Hodgkin lymphomas by major cancer agencies, including the National Cancer Institute in its SEER program, the Canadian Cancer Society and the IARC.


The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) included certain types of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as AIDS-defining cancers in 1987.[19] Immune suppression rather than HIV itself is implicated in the pathogenesis of this malignancy, with a clear correlation between the degree of immune suppression and the risk of developing NHL. Additionally, other retroviruses such as HTLV may be spread by the same mechanisms that spread HIV, leading to an increased rate of co-infection.[20]

See also[edit]

  • Lymphoma, for information about all forms of NHL as well as Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Chemotherapy, for information on the standard of care of all forms of non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
  • CHOP-R for the most common chemotherapeutic regimen for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.


  1. ^ "non-Hodgkin lymphomas" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. ^ Swerdlow, Steven H; Campo, Elias; Harris, Nancy Lee; Jaffe, Elaine S.; Pileri, Stefano A.; Stein, Harold; Thiele, Jurgan; Vardiman, James W., eds. (2008). WHO Classification of Tumours of Haematopoietic and Lymphoid Tissues. Oxford Univ Pr. ISBN 978-92-832-2431-0. [page needed]
  3. ^ Maeda, E.; Akahane, M.; Kiryu, S.; Kato, N.; Yoshikawa, T.; Hayashi, N.; Aoki, S.; Minami, M.; Uozaki, H.; Fukayama, M.; Ohtomo, K. (2009). "Spectrum of Epstein-Barr virus-related diseases: A pictorial review". Japanese Journal of Radiology 27 (1): 4–19. doi:10.1007/s11604-008-0291-2. PMID 19373526.  edit
  4. ^ Peveling-Oberhag, J.; Arcaini, L.; Hansmann, M. L.; Zeuzem, S. (2013). "Hepatitis C-associated B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Epidemiology, molecular signature and clinical management". Journal of Hepatology 59 (1): 169–177. doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2013.03.018. PMID 23542089.  edit
  5. ^ Arnold S Freedman and Lee M Nadler (2000). "Chapter 130: Non–Hodgkin’s Lymphomas". In Kufe DW, Pollock RE, Weichselbaum RR, Bast RC Jr, Gansler TS, Holland JF, Frei E III. Holland-Frei Cancer Medicine (5th ed.). Hamilton, Ont: B.C. Decker. ISBN 1-55009-113-1. 
  6. ^ Kramer, Shira; Hikel, Stephanie Moller; Adams, Kristen; Hinds, David; Moon, Katherine (2012). "Current Status of the Epidemiologic Evidence Linking Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, and the Role of Immune Dysregulation". Environmental Health Perspectives 120 (8): 1067–75. doi:10.1289/ehp.1104652. PMC 3440083. PMID 22552995. 
  7. ^ Engel, Lawrence S.; Lan, Qing; Rothman, Nathaniel (2007). "Polychlorinated Biphenyls and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma". Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 16 (3): 373–6. doi:10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-07-0055. PMID 17337641. 
  8. ^ Bräuner, E. V.; M. Sørensen, E. Gaudreau, A. LeBlanc, K. T. Eriksen, A. Tjønneland, K. Overvad, O. Raaschou-Nielsen (2012). "A prospective study of organochlorines in adipose tissue and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.". Environmental Health Perspectives 120 (1): 105–111. 
  9. ^ Laden, F.; K. A. Bertrand, L. Altshul, J. C. Aster, S. A. Korrick, and S. K. Sagiv (2010). "Plasma organochlorine levels and risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the Nurses’ Health Study.". Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 19 (5): 1381–1384. 
  10. ^ Cocco, P.; P. Brennan, A. Ibba, S de Sanjosé Llongueras, M. Maynadié, A. Nieters, N. Becker, M. G. Ennas, M. G. Tocco, and P. Boffetta (2008). "Plasma polychlorobiphenyl and organochlorine pesticide level and risk of major lymphoma subtypes.". Occupational and Environmental Medicine 65 (2): 132–140. 
  11. ^ Ruder, A. M.; M. J. Hein, N. B. Hopf, and M. A. Waters (2013). "Mortality among 24,865 workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in three electrical capacitor manufacturing plants: a ten-year update.". International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health: 37. doi:10.1016/j.ijheh.2013.04.006. 
  12. ^ Pesatori, A. C.; P. Grillo, D. Consonni, M. Caironi, G. Sampietro, L. Olivari, S. Ghisleni, and P. A. Bertazzi. (2013). "Update of the mortality study of workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in two Italian capacitor manufacturing plants". Medicina del Lavoro 104 (2): 107–114. 
  13. ^ Mallin, K.; K. McCann, A. D’Aloisio, S. Freels, J. Piorkowski, J. Dimos, and V. Persky (2004). "Cohort mortality study of capacitor manufacturing workers, 1944-2000". Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 6 (46): 565‑576. 
  14. ^ Kimbrough, R. D.; M. L. Doemland, and J. S. Mandel (2003). "A mortality update of male and female capacitor workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls". Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 45 (3): 271–282. 
  15. ^ Loomis, D.; S. R. Browning, A. P. Schenck, E. Gregory, and D. A. Savitz (1997). "Cancer mortality among electric utility workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls". Occupational and Environmental Medicine (54): 720–728. 
  16. ^ Gustavsson, P.; C. Hogstedt (1997). "A cohort study of Swedish capacitor manufacturing workers exposed to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)". American Journal of Industrial Medicine (32): 234–239. 
  17. ^ Lauby-Secretan, B.; D. Loomis, Y. Grosse, F. El Ghissassi, V. Bouvard, L. Benbrahim-Tallaa, N. Guha, R. Baan, H. Mattock, and K. Straif (2013). "Carcinogenicity of polychlorinated biphenyls and polybrominated biphenyls". Lancet Oncology 14 (4): 287–288. 
  18. ^ Lozano, R (Dec 15, 2012). "Global and regional mortality from 235 causes of death for 20 age groups in 1990 and 2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010.". Lancet 380 (9859): 2095–128. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61728-0. PMID 23245604. 
  19. ^ Centers for Disease Control (1987). "Revision of the CDC surveillance case definition for acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists; AIDS Program, Center for Infectious Diseases". Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 36 (Suppl 1): 1S–15S. PMID 3039334. 
  20. ^ Lee, Belinda; Bower, Mark; Newsom-Davis, Thomas; Nelson, Mark (2010). "HIV-related lymphoma". HIV Therapy 4 (6): 649. doi:10.2217/hiv.10.54. 

External links[edit]