Lymphoma Cancer Types

Lymphoma is a broad grouping of cancers which originate from lymphocytes, which are a type of white blood cell. These can be further divided into natural killer cells, B cell and T cells, each of which play an important role in the immune defence system. While Hodgkin's lymphoma is without doubt the most well-known form of lymphoma, there are several other recognised forms. Several systems have been developed that divide lymphoma into sub-groups, the most recent and commonly used being one developed by the World Health Organization, which divides them according to cell type; that is, natural killer, B and T cells.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

The very first lymphoma cancer type to be documented is Hodgkin’s lymphoma, named after the man who described it, Thomas Hodgkin, who presented his findings in 1832. The choice of treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma depends on the sex, age and stage of the patient, and may include stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. This particular type of lymphoma is characterised by the systematic order in which the disease spreads from one lymph node group to another. Hodgkin’s lymphoma affected 1,673 people in the UK in 2007, and caused 302 deaths in 2008; this represents less than 1% of all diagnosed cancers in the UK.

Other Lymphoma Cancer Types

As mentioned previously, several systems have been devised with the aim of categorising the various identified types of lymphoma cancer. The most general division has been between Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is a division commonly used in fictional television shows, but this has been widely abandoned by practitioners due to its lack of descriptive capability. The most recent and widely adapted form of lymphoma cancer type classification was devised by the World Health Organisation, and is based on the “Revised European-American Lymphoma Classification” (or REAL for short). This divides lymphoma cancers into four groups:

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

  • Classical Hodgkin Lymphomas
  • Nodular lymphocyte-predominant Hodgkin lymphoma

Mature T-cell and Natural Kill cell neoplasms

  • Blastic Natural Killer cell lymphoma
  • T –cell prolymphocytic leukaemia
  • Aggressive Natural Killer leukaemia
  • Adult T-cell lymphoma
  • T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Sezary syndrome
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma
  • Peripheral T cell lymphoma
  • Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma
  • Hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma
  • Enteropathy-type T-cell lymphoma
  • Extranodal Natural Killer cell lymphoma
  • CD30-positive T-cell lymphoproliferate disorders

Immunodeficiency-related Lymphoproliferate Disorders

  • Post-transplant
  • Methotrexate therapy related
  • Primary immune disorder related
  • HIV related
  • Primary central nervous system lymphoma

Mature B-cell Neoplasms

  • Plasma cell neoplasms
  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma
  • Burkitt lymphoma
  • Primary effusion lymphoma
  • NMZL
  • Splenic marginal zone lymphoma
  • Prolymphocytic B-cell leukaemia
  • Small lymphocytic lymphoma
  • Lymphoplasmacytic leukaemia
  • Mantle cell lymphoma
  • Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma
  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • MALT lymphoma

This classification covers the known types of lymphoma cancer, but as with previous systems it is likely to be changed and updated as new discoveries are made. However, the base upon which the lymphoma cancer types are divided is one of the most solid ones developed thus far, which gives hope to its continued survival. This would allow for an international standard of classification, which not only eases communication between practitioners, but also makes for easier research for laymen.

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