Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) is classified in a number of ways. A few classifications include whether it is an indolent lymphoma or an aggressive lymphoma, in which cell it starts and then there are many other subtypes. Let us have a look at all of these classifications.

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What Are The Types Of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma?

As there are different types and also various subtypes of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, it is very important to confirm which type has been diagnosed, as the treatment a will vary according to the types and subtypes, as different cancers respond differently to the various treatment methods.

The first thing that most oncologists will do is to establish in which cell the Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma started. It can be any one group out of the below mentioned three groups-

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B Cell Lymphoma- most people are affected with this type.

T Cell Lymphoma- considerably a smaller number of people is affected with this type.

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NK Cell Lymphoma- this is the rarest of the three types.

The next thing the specialists will do is to establish whether it is a slow-growing or indolent lymphoma or a fast growing or aggressive lymphoma. Aggressive Non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas are more common in children.

Indolent NHL- In this type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the lymphomas grow slowly. Hence, most of the time the immediately treatment is not needed once it is diagnosed. They may survive without any treatment for years. However, they are monitored closely; and the treatment is started if the lymphoma starts showing any signs and symptoms or the conditions of the disease change considerably. This phase is known as watchful waiting phase.

An indolent lymphoma if present only in 1 or 2 adjacent areas is called a localized disease. This may be stage 1 or 2 of the disease. However, most patients with indolent lymphoma are diagnosed when they reach the stage 3 or 4. That said, the disease can be treated even at this stage with effective treatment. But, the chances of recurrence may be present.

Aggressive NHL- in this type of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the cancer spreads aggressively and the treatment is usually started within days or weeks. These are generally treated with chemotherapy. Some forms of aggressive NHLs may be brought into complete remission with effective treatment.

There are some other subtypes of lymphoma, as follows. Determining the subtype of the Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is equally important. This is because all subtypes behave and respond differently to different types of treatments. There are a great many subtypes of Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, over 60 to be precise. However, many of these types are rare. Determining the correct subtype is a challenging job and is done only by the specialists who are expert in handling these cases and who work with the oncologists closely. Some common subtypes of B - cell Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma are-

  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL)-
  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Mantle cell lymphoma
  • Small lymphocytic lymphoma
  • Double hit lymphoma
  • Primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma-
  • Splenic marginal zone B-cell lymphoma-
  • Extra-nodal marginal zone B -cell lymphoma of MALT-
  • Nodal marginal zone B -cell lymphoma
  • Lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma
  • Primary effusion lymphoma
  • Burkitt lymphoma/ Burkitt cell leukemia
  • Most common Subtypes of T- cell lymphoma and NK - cell lymphoma-
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, primary cutaneous type.
  • Anaplastic large cell lymphoma, systemic type
  • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma, not otherwise specified (NOS)
  • Angioimmunoblastic T-cell lymphoma
  • Adult T-cell lymphoma/ leukemia
  • Extra-nodal NK/T cell lymphoma, nasal type
  • Enteropathy -associated T-cell lymphoma
  • Gamma/ delta hepato-splenic T-cell lymphoma
  • Subcutaneous panniculitis like T-cell lymphoma
  • Mycosis fungoides

The non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is classified into various types like B cell, T cell or NK cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, indolent or aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and then into various other subtypes thereafter. Establishing the type and subtype of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is extremely important, so that the right method of treatment can be decided.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: November 8, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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