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Types of Lymphoma: Understanding Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Subtypes

Types of Lymphoma

When discussing lymphoma, it’s vital to distinguish between the two main types – Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) – as they differ in their cellular characteristics, treatment options, and prognosis1.

Illustration of lymphoma cells showing Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin subtypes

Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin lymphoma, named after Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it in 18322, is characterized by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells, abnormal cells typically only found in this type of lymphoma3. It comprises about 10% of all lymphomas4.

There are five subtypes of HL, each with its unique pathology and prognosis5:

  1. Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (cHL): This category encompasses four subtypes – Nodular sclerosis, Mixed cellularity, Lymphocyte-rich, and Lymphocyte-depleted. cHL accounts for most HL cases, often identified by the appearance of specific types of Reed-Sternberg cells5.
  2. Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma (NLPHL): It’s relatively rare and is marked by a different kind of abnormal cell called a ‘popcorn’ cell5.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is far more prevalent than Hodgkin lymphoma and has a myriad of subtypes, over 60, each with different behaviors, prognoses, and treatment options6. Some of the most common include:

  1. Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL): The most common type of NHL, aggressive but potentially curable7.
  2. Follicular lymphoma: This is typically a slow-growing or ‘indolent’ form of NHL that originates from B-cells
  3. Mantle cell lymphoma: A rare, typically aggressive form of NHL that arises from cells in the mantle zone of the lymph node7.
  4. Marginal zone lymphomas: These originate from B-cells in the marginal zone of the lymph node and tend to be indolent7.
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Pediatric Lymphomas

Although less common, lymphomas can affect children as well. Both Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphomas occur in children, with specific subtypes more common in pediatric populations. For example, Burkitt lymphoma is a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma more prevalent among children

Importance of Subtyping

Subtyping lymphomas helps guide treatment strategies and provide prognostic information9. It helps physicians determine the most effective therapy, whether it’s chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination thereof

Understanding the types and subtypes of lymphoma highlights the complexity and diversity of this group of diseases. Given the rapid advancements in medical research, our knowledge about these subtypes, their pathologies, and potential treatments continues to evolve, offering hope for more effective therapies in the future.

Footnotes

  1. American Cancer Society: Types of Lymphoma
  2. National Library of Medicine: Hodgkin Lymphoma
  3. American Society of Hematology: Hodgkin Lymphoma
  4. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society: Hodgkin Lymphoma
  5. Mayo Clinic: Hodgkin’s vs. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma 2 3
  6. American Cancer Society: Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Types
  7. Mayo Clinic: Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma 2 3 4
  8. American Society of Clinical Oncology: Lymphoma – Childhood
  9. Cancer Research UK: Types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  10. American Society of Hematology: Treatment of Lymphoma

Disclaimer: This article is designed to provide general information about Hodgkin and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. It does not offer medical advice or guidance and should not be used for diagnosis or treatment purposes. If you have concerns or questions about lymphoma, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional or a specialist in oncology. While the author has tried to provide accurate and up-to-date information, they accept no liability for errors, omissions, or any consequences arising from using this information.

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Tanzir Islam Britto

Hello, I'm Dr. Tanzir Islam Britto. As a dedicated physician, I've embarked on my medical journey at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical College (BSMMC), previously known as Faridpur Medical College, where I pursued my Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). I completed my degree at Shahabuddin Medical College (SMC). Alongside my medical career, I am an amateur writer and an active social media advocate, where I share insights into health, wellness, and more.

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