Hodgkin Lymphoma

Hodgkin LymphomaOne of the two major types of lymphoma that begin in the lymph nodes and tissues of the lymphatic system. All other lymphomas are classified as non-Hodgkin lymphomas. Hodgkin lymphoma has characteristic cell, the Reed-Sternberg cell, seen by the pathologist under the microscope when looking at the tissue from the biopsy. (HL), also known as Hodgkin disease, is a type of cancerAbnormal cell growth that cannot be controlled by the body's natural defenses. Cancerous cells can grow and eventually form tumors. that affects the lymphatic systemThe channels, tissues and organs that store and carry lymphocytes that fight infection and other diseases., usually found in the lymph nodesSmall bean-shaped glands located in the small vessels of the lymphatic system. There are thousands of lymph nodes located throughout the body, with clusters of them in the neck, under the arms, the chest, abdomen and groin. Lymph nodes filter lymph fluid, trapping and destroying potentially harmful bacteria and viruses..  

HL is characterized by the presence of very large cells called Reed-Sternberg (RS) cells, although other abnormal cell types may be present. HL usually starts in the lymphThe watery fluid in the lymph system that contains white blood cells (lymphocytes). nodes; however, it often spreads from one lymph node to another and can also spread to other organs.

Hodgkin lymphoma, is less common than non-Hodgkin lymphoma. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 9,000 new cases of Hodgkin lymphoma are projected each year. Although the cancer can occur in both children and adults, it is most commonly diagnosed in young adults between the ages of 15 and 35 and in older adults over age 50.

Common signs and symptoms of HL include swelling of the lymph nodes (which is often but not always painless), fever, night sweats, unexplained weight loss, and lack of energy.

Classifications of HL

Classical HL Subtypes

  • Nodular Sclerosis CHL: The most common subtype of HL characterized by the RS cells mixed with normal white blood cells in the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes often contain a lot of scar tissue.
  • Mixed Cellularity CHL: More commonly found in men, the lymph nodes contain RS cells in addition to several other cell types.
  • Lymphocyte Depletion: This aggressiveLymphomas that are fast growing and generally need to be treated immediately. Also called intermediate-grade or high-grade lymphomas. type of HL characterized by a few normal lymphocytesA type of white blood cell. Lymphocytes, carries along by the lymph fluid, are part of the immune system and fight infection. with an abundance of RS cells.
  • Lymphocyte-Rich: Characterized by the presence of numerous normal- appearing lymphocytes and classic RS cells.

Lymphocyte Predominant Hodgkin Lymphoma Subtypes

  • Nodular Lymphocyte Predominant: This slow-growing type of HL is associated with abnormal B cellsa type of white blood cell that participates in immune responses by secreting antibodies., which may be distributed in a nodular (knot-like) pattern within the tissues.

To learn more about HL, download the Hodgkin Lymphoma Booklet or the Hodgkin Lymphoma Fact Sheet.