Skip to content

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Font Size

Adult Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Treatment for Indolent, Recurrent Adult NHL

In general, treatment with standard agents rarely produces a cure in patients whose disease has relapsed. Sustained remissions after relapse can often be obtained in patients with indolent lymphomas, but relapse will usually ensue. Favorable survival after relapse has been associated with an age younger than 60 years, complete remission rather than partial remission, and duration of response longer than 1 year. Even the most favorable subset, however, has a tenfold greater mortality compared with age-adjusted U.S. population rates.[1] Patients who experience a relapse with indolent lymphoma can often have their disease controlled with single agent or combination chemotherapy, rituximab (an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody), lenalidomide, radiolabeled anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies, or palliative radiation therapy.[2,3] Long-term freedom from second relapse, however, is uncommon and multiple relapses will usually occur. Patients with indolent lymphoma may experience a relapse with a more aggressive histology. If the clinical pattern of relapse suggests that the disease is behaving in a more aggressive manner, a biopsy should be performed. Documentation of conversion to a more aggressive histology requires an appropriate change to therapy applicable to that histologic type.[4] Rapid growth or discordant growth between various disease sites may indicate a histologic conversion.

In a retrospective review of 325 patients between 1972 and 1999, the risk of histologic transformation was 30% by 10 years from diagnosis.[5] In this series, high risk factors for subsequent histologic transformation were advanced stage, high-risk Follicular Lymphoma International Prognostic Index, and expectant management. The median survival after transformation was 1 to 2 years, with 25% of patients alive at 5 years and with approximately 10% to 20% of patients alive 10 years after re-treatment.[6]

Recommended Related to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma -- Symptoms

Symptoms of non-Hodgkin lymphoma may include: Painless swelling of one or more lymph nodes, with no recent infection. Swelling may be intermittent. Swelling, fluid accumulation, or pain in the abdomen. Shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing. Bloody stool or vomit. Swelling of the face, neck, and arms. Blockage of urine flow. Bone pain. Unexplained weight loss amounting to 10% of body weight over six months. Fever lasting for at least 14 consecutive days, usually in...

Read the Understanding Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma -- Symptoms article > >

(Refer to the Treatment for Aggressive, Recurrent Adult NHL section of this summary for descriptions of the regimens used to treat histologic conversions.) The durability of the second remission may be short, and clinical trials should be considered.

Standard Treatment Options for Indolent, Recurrent Adult NHL

Standard treatment options for indolent, recurrent adult NHL include the following:

  1. Chemotherapy (single agent or combination).
  2. Rituximab.
  3. Lenalidomide.
  4. Radiolabeled anti-CD20 monoclonal antibodies.
  5. Palliative radiation therapy.
    1|2|3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    stem cells
    What are they and why do we need them?
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Do you know the symptoms?
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    New Treatments For Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
    FEATURE
     
    Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW
     

    WebMD Special Sections